More than 5,000 Canadians are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Identifying the disease early gives you the best chance of effective treatment. Regular screening is the most reliable way to identify signs early since you are unlikely to notice any symptoms until the disease has progressed.
Marketplace Dentistry is here to help you care for your total health.
Schedule an Oral Cancer Screening along with your regular cleaning and exam today.
What to Expect During a Dental Oral Cancer Screening?
An oral screening is a simple examination that is often combined with your regular cleaning and/or checkup.
Your dentist will typically clean your teeth and then perform the screening.
During the screening, your dentist will do a visual inspection of your mouth including the roof of your mouth and your throat.
They may also feel for lumps beneath the skin.
Your dentist will look for any unusual spots, sores, discoloration or lumps. An initial screening is good for noticing these visual abnormalities. However, it is important to note that a screening cannot definitively diagnose oral cancer.
Sores in the mouth can develop for a variety of reasons, so the only way to determine if they are from cancer is with additional tests. If your dentist finds a suspicious sore or spot, they will order a biopsy where cells are scraped from the area and then tested for cancer.
For patients under age 40, a screening every three years is recommended. For those over 40, an annual exam should be performed. They are typically done as part of your regular cleanings and do not require a special appointment.
For those Who Have Increased Risk
Those who are at higher risk for oral cancer may need more frequent exams. Those who use tobacco products, have had oral cancer before, heavy drinkers, and those who have frequent sun exposure may all be at higher risk.
It is also important to note that a dental exam may not detect all oral cancer. Therefore, if you are at increased risk, you should speak with your primary care doctor about additional testing.
While a screening is a good precaution for most patients, those who are in the higher risk category need to be the most vigilant in keeping up with screenings. It is also important to keep in mind, once again, that sores in the mouth can happen for a variety of reasons.
When to Worry About a Mouth Sore
If you have a sore in your mouth, it is likely to go away on its own and not be a sign of any further disease. If, however, the sore lasts for more than two weeks, reoccurs frequently, or there is an outbreak of several sores at once, then it is time to consult with your doctor or dentist.
Schedule Your Oral Cancer Screening Today
Take charge of your oral health today and schedule an appointment for Oral Cancer Screening.
Marketplace Dentistry offers examinations along with regular cleanings and checkups.