Your dentist recommends that you get dental exams and cleanings every six months. During your visit to the dentist, they check your teeth for cavities and assess your mouth for gum disease. However, your dentist is also your first line of defence against a devastating condition, oral cancer.
Oral cancers include lips, tongue, cheeks, mouth floor, soft and hard palate, and throat. The chances of men developing oral cancer are higher than women making it the sixth most common cancer in them.
Cancer is life-threatening if it isn’t detected early and treated. It is why oral cancer screenings in Richmond Hill, ON, are performed by the dentist during routine dental visits.
Evaluation of the oral cavity, including the soft tissues, is part of dental exams performed by dentists on patients when they arrive for a checkup.
An oral cancer test is an essential part of every dental exam. The screenings are comprehensive and begin before your physical exam. Initially, the dental hygienist updates your medical history with any changes that have occurred after your last visit. They also note any diagnosis with new conditions or diseases and the medications you take for them.
The medical history will also ask questions about your risk factors for oral cancer, including smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. People with these practices are at a higher risk of oral cancer. The dental professionals will also inquire about your current overall health, including dental concerns.
The oral cancer screening dentist will examine areas inside and outside your mouth. The exam will include an assessment of your head and neck besides the lips, tongue, palate, mouth floor, and gum tissues. The dentist looks for lumps, irregular tissue changes and discoloration during the examination. If any suspicious lesions or lumps are detected, the dentist might suggest a biopsy or refer you to an oral surgeon.
Oral cancer appears as groups or sores that don’t disappear. For example, persistent sores on your face, neck or mouth bleeding easily and not healing within two weeks indicate oral cancer. Other symptoms of oral cancer include white, red or speckled patches in your mouth, unexplained bleeding and pain or tenderness in parts of your face, neck, or mouth, challenges when chewing or swallowing, chronic sore throat, changes in your bite and significant loss of weight.
Regular dental checkups help prevent problems with your teeth. However, your dentist is also a medical professional you see most often with the training to detect signs of oral cancer early. Therefore you find it beneficial to schedule regular dental appointments every six months to prevent untoward conditions from developing in your mouth. The screening has no downsides, and the dentist completes it within five minutes.
If you have lesions in your mouth that don’t clear within two weeks, you help yourself by scheduling an appointment with your dentist to check whether you have oral cancer. For example, if you have red or white patches, ulcers, lumps and other groups and confront challenges chewing or swallowing and speaking besides pain and numbness, you must schedule a dental visit to assess yourself for oral cancer.
It helps if you understand pain is not an indicator of oral cancer. Please do not assume lesions or lumps that don’t hurt aren’t problems. When you visit your dentist, please do not hesitate to ask questions or discuss dental concerns you might have. The matters are not insignificant, and speaking to your dentist might prevent complicated problems.
Oral cancer screenings shouldn’t scare you because they are merely a preventive measure to ensure you don’t have cancerous lumps or lesions in your mouth and, if detected, receive treatment for the condition early when outcomes are the best. You might have two undergo a biopsy to detect whether the lesions are malignant or benign. The screenings provide peace of mind and make it clear that you don’t have any life-threatening conditions in your mouth that might impact your overall health. The screenings don’t indicate that you are susceptible to developing oral cancer and its consequences but help you stay clear of a devastating condition to lead a fruitful life.
Richmond Dental Care performs oral cancer screenings whenever you visit them for routine dental exams and teeth cleanings. If you suspect you have lesions and lumps in your mouth, please schedule an appointment with this practice to have your mouth screened for oral cancer.