According to the American Cancer Society, “squamous cell carcinoma (similar to skin cancer) of the oral cavity and throat account for about 45,000 cases each year in the United States, resulting in approximately 8,000 deaths per year.” Even if for this reason alone, oral cancer screenings are vital to your good health. At Woods Dentistry, oral cancer screening is part of your regular dental checkup. Your dentist examines your oral tissues (mouth) by looking at your lips and inside your mouth. They also check your gums carefully, and the inside of your cheeks and your tongue – both the sides and underneath.
Loose teeth, red spots, white spots, ulcerations, rough areas, asymmetry, growths, or other masses may be the first sign of a cancer in this area as in all areas of the head and neck.
Any sore, discoloration, mass of hardened tissue, prominent tissue, irritation, hoarseness, which does not resolve within a two week period on its own, with or without treatment, should be considered suspect; any condition that has existed for 14 days or more without resolution should be considered worthy of further diagnostic procedures or referral.
Once suspect tissues have been detected, the only way a definitive diagnosis of oral cancer may be made is through biopsy. Oral cancer screenings are relatively quick and simple; there is no reason why your regular dental check up shouldn’t include this.
If you partake in the following you are greater risk for oral cancers.
Additionally, genetic factors and certain viruses can increase your susceptibility for oral cancers. Detailed discussion of sexual activity including oral sex history should take place to identify high-risk individuals especially since HPV16-associated (human papillomavirus) oral cancers are on the rise. (Oral Cancer Foundation)
When visiting Woods Dentistry for your regular dental examination, be sure that an oral cancer screening is included in your exam. You’re there – it’s easy! Get it done!