Oral Cancer Screening
One of the reasons regular dental exams are so important is because they include a screening for oral cancer. These visits give a dentist the chance to examine all areas of the mouth with the aim of catching any signs as soon as possible.
At Reed Family Dental, our dentist, Dr. Allison Reed, performs an oral cancer screening during each exam and cleaning visit.
Benefits of Screenings
Following a regular schedule of oral screenings is good to add to other recommended health screenings. Early cancer diagnosis and treatment provide better outcomes, so checking for signs is important. That is why oral cancer screening is included in general dentistry checkup appointments.
Precancerous lesions or early stage cancer cells are easier to treat and remove. An early diagnosis helps you get quick treatment to hopefully stop the cancer from progressing and reaching a later stage.
While our dentist is checking your teeth, gums and mouth for signs of dental disease or other problems during an exam, she checks for signs of cancer as well. This is another reason why it’s smart to stick to a twice-yearly schedule for dental exams.
What Signs Does a Dentist Look For?
Oral cancer is also known as mouth or oral cavity cancer. Our dentist is trained in the signs that could indicate this type of cancer is present. During your screening, Dr. Reed checks your entire mouth, including the teeth, tongue, inner mouth and lips. She may also check your lymph nodes and ears.
During this examination, our dentist is looking for signs like loose teeth, red or white patches in the mouth and ongoing sores. She may also see or feel a lump or growth.
You may experience symptoms of oral cancer that Dr. Reed would not necessarily notice on her own. These could include pain in the mouth and ears, coughing and having trouble swallowing. Communicate any symptoms you experience so she can take them into account as part of a full evaluation. Combining any signs she notices with information you tell her will help her make the best diagnosis, whether you may have signs of oral cancer or an indication of another problem.
Who Is a Candidate for Oral Cancer Screening?
This type of screening is automatically part of every exam and cleaning visit, which means that the screening is for everyone. Since this is a non-invasive form of screening that does not require any extra visits or potential harm, it is worth it for all patients.
That said, some people have a higher risk of developing mouth cancer. These include people who use tobacco, use alcohol excessively or gain a lot of sun exposure. Also, people with a history of mouth cancer or human papillomavirus (HPV) have a higher risk.
Make Your Checkup Appointment
An oral cancer screening is part of a regular cleaning and exam visit. Dr. Reed values education and communication, so feel free to ask questions and share your concerns during your visit. Call our office at 740-622-5695 to make an appointment with our receptionist.