Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer is just as serious as any other type of cancer, and if it is not detected and treated, it can be fatal. That is why oral cancer screenings are so important. If you do not know that you have oral cancer and do not visit Everglades Family Dental every six months for a checkup and a cleaning, the cancer will spread. If you wait too long, the chances of recovery will begin to decrease.
What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening?
Our oral cancer screenings typically begin with a visual exam. During our regular six-month exams, we do look for signs of oral cancer. However, if you believe you may have symptoms of oral cancer, you can always make an appointment before your next cleaning. This appointment will focus solely on oral cancer, though we will make note of anything else that we discover.
The screening itself is much like your regular checkup. We will use a flashlight, mirror, and other tools to examine your mouth, teeth, gums, and other parts of your mouth for lesions. If we see signs of cancer or anything that may be pre-cancerous, we may need to order additional testing. We may need to do an endoscopy, an x-ray, or even take a biopsy to determine if a growth in your mouth is cancerous.
How Often Do You Need to Have an Oral Cancer Screening?
While we do typically look for oral cancer during your regular checkups, we also like to schedule detailed screenings for individuals over age 20. This falls in line with what the American Cancer Society suggests. We typically like anyone between 20 and 40 years old to come in every three years for a screening. Once you turn 40, ideally you will get an annual oral cancer screening. Often, we see signs of oral cancer during a checkup and then schedule a follow-up appointment to directly address it. If we see something that could be pre-cancerous, we may have you come in earlier than six months to monitor it.
Of course, you can give us a call if you believe you have symptoms of oral cancer and would like us to look at the lesion or other issue you have identified. If you ever feel pain or notice something unusual in your mouth, give us a call as soon as possible. It may be nothing, but if it is a sign of oral cancer, the sooner we begin treatment, the better.
Do You Need an Oral Cancer Screening?
If you have not been in for a check-up and cleaning in a few years and are over age 40, you certainly need to give us a call to schedule both. If you are over age 20 and have a family history of cancer, you also need to make certain you get these screenings. Other people, such as those who use tobacco products, are also at higher risk of oral cancer. Even if you are not in a high risk group, you should still have a screening done every three years. If you need to schedule one, call Everglades Family Dental at (754) 764-0465 today.