5 Reasons to Get an Oral Cancer Screening
- On July 30, 2020
Most patients associate a visit to the family dentist with a routine dental exam or simple periodontal treatment, but the importance of oral cancer screenings should not be underestimated. Screenings for oral cancer are non-invasive and are performed quickly and safely in the dentist’s office. If you are in the Lake Jackson, TX area, and have been putting off a visit to the family dentist, now is the time to schedule an appointment for an oral cancer screening.
Why Is Oral Cancer Screening Important?
Since the mouth is used every day for speaking and eating, signs of oral or oropharyngeal cancer should be obvious, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case. The best way to detect cancers of the mouth and throat is through regular screenings by a professional. Oral cancer screening appointments are a vital part of health care for several reasons.
- All individuals are at risk for oral cancer. Although the risk increases if you use tobacco products or drink alcohol, about a quarter of oral cancer patients do not do either. You can lower your risk by avoiding tobacco and alcohol and by scheduling regular screenings.
- Oral cancer can be difficult to spot on your own. Visual observation in the mirror is not a reliable method, since many signs are subtle. A dentist knows the specific signs that cause concern and can detect them using simple methods during a screening.
- Dentists are trained to examine other areas that are affected by oral and oropharyngeal cancers such as the lymph nodes of the neck since that is the first place cancers of the mouth and throat spread. They also ask specific questions that aid in the analysis.
- If a problem is detected, the dentist has a system set in place that allows patients to take the next step in the diagnostic process. These steps could include a referral to a physician or diagnostic imaging services.
- Like all cancers, the key to successful treatment is early detection. Oral cancer screenings look for subtle signs that may not be apparent to you yet, so an early diagnosis can be made and can result in a better outcome.
Should You Get an Oral Cancer Screening?
The short answer is yes. All individuals have the potential to develop oral cancer and therefore need to be regularly screened. Lake Jackson, TX residents can easily set up an appointment with All Smiles Dentistry for both a cancer screening and to check for signs of periodontitis. Regular dental cleanings also keep your smile healthy and bright and prevent cavities.
How Often Should You Get an Oral Cancer Screening?
The frequency of oral cancer screenings is partially determined by the level of the patient’s risk. Screenings should occur annually and can easily be incorporated into your regular rotation of dental visits. If you have additional risk factors or have noticed symptoms, you should schedule screenings more often.
- Tobacco use
- Heavy alcohol use
- Poor diet
- Diagnosis of human papillomavirus
- Over the age of 40
- History of oral cancer
Why Choose All Smiles Dentistry?
Whether you are in the Lake Jackson area or are from other areas of Texas, you may have heard about the superior dental services at All Smiles Dentistry. With high-quality services and a professional and compassionate team of providers, the standard of care cannot be beaten. Contact All Smiles Dentistry today to schedule an oral cancer screening, cleaning, or other appointments.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/ Tyler Olson