Importance of Regular Dental Checkup in Finding Oral Cancer - Vita Dental Spring
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Importance of Regular Dental Checkup in Finding Oral Cancer

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Importance of Regular Dental Checkup in Finding Oral Cancer

You probably know that your dentist recommends you visit him once every six months. This way, the dentist is able to check you for gum issues and tooth cavities. However, your dentist checks for more than cavities and gum infections. He or she is the first line of defense for oral cancer.

The American Dental Association recommends that you go for a dental checkup twice a year and have a professional tooth cleaning. These checkups are good at detecting gum issues and tooth decay. However, many dentists also check for signs of cancer. We at Vita Dental Spring often screen for oral cancer and we would like to tell you more about the process.

About the Oral Cancer

Oral cancer will often appear as a sore or growth, which will not go away. It includes cancer of the tongue, lips, cheeks, the floor of the mouth, soft and hard palate, and the throat. If it is not found and treated early, it can be life-threatening.

This is why cancer screening during a dental checkup is so important. Dentists will evaluate the oral cavity, including the soft tissues as part of the routine checkup. There is almost no downside to frequent checkups except maybe missing a few minutes of work.

What to Expect at the Oral Cancer Screening

Before the oral exam, your dental hygienist will update your medical history. This will help to discover any new disease diagnosis. It will also help to establish whether you are taking any new medication since the last visit.

The medical history will peer into issues such as the risk factor for oral cancer. These will include excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and diet. People that smoke a lot and drink huge amounts of alcohol are the most at risk of contracting oral cancer.

Besides that, men have a six times higher chance of developing oral cancer than women. This makes it the sixth most common cancer in males. A dentist or hygienist will want to know about your overall health. This will include any dental concerns that you might have. If you have any concerns or questions, ensure that you share them with your hygienist.

For the purposes of the cancer screening, the dentist will check areas inside and outside your mouth. The screening will entail checking the head, neck, and the intraoral areas of the gum tissues, floor, and roof of mouth, tongue, lips, and cheeks.

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The dentist will be checking for sores, lumps, tissues changes, including discolored tissue and many other things. If he or she sees something that looks odd, he might recommend a biopsy. Alternatively, he may decide to refer you to an oral surgeon.

The Common Signs of Oral Cancer

  • Lumps, bumps, crusts, rough spots, or eroded areas on the gums, lips, and other areas inside the oral cavity.
  • Red, velvety-white, speckled red and white patches inside the mouth.
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Unexplained pain or numbness in any area of the mouth, neck, or face
  • Persistent sores on the neck, mouth, or face, which bleed with ease and refuse to heal in two weeks or less
  • Soreness or sensation that there is something caught in the back of your throat
  • Difficulty swallowing, chewing, speaking, or moving the tongue and jaw
  • A chronic hoarseness, sore throat, and permanent voice change
  • Unending ear pain
  • Changes in the bite
  • A sudden weight loss

If you start to explain swallowing, chewing, or speaking problems accompanied by pain, numbness or changes in your bite do not wait for your next appointment. Visit us immediately at Vita Dental Health  without further delay. This also applies if you experience red and white patches lumps, ulcers, and other growths, which do not clear in two weeks or less. Do not assume that because there is no pain, then there is no problem. Pain is not a reliable indicator when dealing with an oral cancer diagnosis.

Besides that, be sure not to miss regular dental checkups. It will help you avoid any issues with your teeth. It will also help the dentist to catch any early signs of oral cancer. No matter how busy you might be, always make time for a dental visit, even if your teeth seem perfectly fine. It could help save you a lot of agony in the future.

Your Chances of Survival Are Higher If Detected Early

If found early, oral cancer survival rates are quite high, the survival rates vary depending on how far your cancer has spread. The progressions are classified into local, regional, and distant. Local means that it has only affected the area it started. Local is the easiest to treat. There is over a 90% chance that it will be cured. In regional, it means that it has spread to some other tissue that is close to the original area of infection. In Distant, it means that cancer has spread far away from the oral cavity. It is quite hard to treat but it can still be treated.