Although many people don’t associate a routine visit to the dentist with cancer prevention, thorough oral cancer screenings are a routine part of a comprehensive dental examination. As with other types of cancer, the sooner oral cancer is detected, the greater chances of it being completely cured. This procedure is particularly important for those at high risk of developing oral cancer.
Risk Factors of Oral Cancer
Those at highest risk of developing oral cancer include people who regularly use tobacco products, those who drink alcohol on a routine basis, and anyone with a significant history of exposure to UV rays. One of the reasons why your dentist asks for a medical history is to determine whether you may be at risk of developing oral cancer.
What Oral Cancer Screening Entails
During an oral cancer screening, your dentist will first perform a thorough visual examination of your oral cavity, including the tongue, gums, the area under the tongue, the insides of your cheeks, the roof of your mouth, and the exterior and interior of the lips. If any lesions or other possible signs of oral cancer are detected, you may be referred for further testing. Those who wear dentures will be required to remove them during the oral cancer screening so that their dentist can thoroughly examine their gum tissue. The average oral screening session takes around five minutes.
It’s also important to schedule an appointment if you notice any abnormalities such as unexplained lumps and spots when you’re in between routine examination. Please feel free to reach out to our office for more information on oral cancer screenings and other aspects of maintaining good dental health.