Oral cancer is a severe and life-threatening condition. It can cause disfiguring facial deformities and even death if left untreated. When it comes to oral health, our mouth is the gateway to the rest of our body. Thus, taking extra precautions is essential when caring for your mouth. This means regular dentist visits and annual checkups for oral cancer screening are necessary. But is it beneficial for these screenings to be done in the dentist’s office? Let’s explore this question further.
Signs And Symptoms Of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer refers to any cancerous tissue growth located in the mouth. It may arise in any part of the oral cavity, including lips, tongue, gums, salivary glands, throat, or other parts of the neck and head. While some cases of oral cancer are hereditary or linked to lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking alcohol. In such situations, the development of oral cancer is found to be the most prevalent. The following are the significant symptoms and signs of oral cancer:
- Changes in color or texture on the lips or inside your mouth
- Lumps on your lips or within your mouth
- Persistent sores that don’t go away after two weeks
- Painful swallowing or difficulty speaking
Because of this, people must understand the risks associated with oral cancer and stay informed about screening procedures that can help detect it early.
How Does Oral Screening Work?
Oral cancer screening is essential in catching and managing the disease early on. During this process, a health care provider will examine your entire mouth, including the roof of your mouth, tonsils, tongue, and sides of your cheeks. Several tests may be used to detect oral cancer. Medical history is often examined to help assess risk factors and changes that could potentially represent oral cancer. Visual observation of different head, neck, and mouth surfaces can also help detect color changes or lesions.
Is Oral Cancer Screening Beneficial?
An oral cancer screening helps detect signs of oral cancer early on before symptoms are apparent. This allows dentists to diagnose and treat potential issues before they worsen. It is believed that adults should get screened for oral cancer at least once every three years during their routine dental exam or checkup. Suppose you have a family history of trauma or prior diagnosis of precancerous lesions. In that case, more frequent screenings may be recommended by your dentist.
Benefits Of Oral Cancer Screening At Dentist’s Office
Helps In the Early Detection Of Oral Cancer
Dentists are trained professionals who know how to look for signs and symptoms associated with oral cancer. By performing routine exams every few months, they can help detect any abnormalities early on. It helps in improving survival rates significantly if treated quickly enough.
Access To Treatment Options
Once diagnosed with oral cancer, a patient will often need additional testing and treatment options. One of the major options is surgery, which depends on the severity of your oral health condition. Access to an experienced dentist ensures proper follow-up care throughout this process, which helps support better overall physical and emotional outcomes for patients.
Educating Patients About Risks Of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer screening in a dental setting also helps educate patients about its risks. It helps them understand how to reduce their chances of developing it. During these visits, dentists can provide information about lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking or regular alcohol consumption that might lower one’s risk of getting the disease. They can also discuss ways to catch abnormal cell growth earlier. For this, performing self-exams between appointments and looking for warning signs will be helpful.
The Final Verdict
Oral cancer can lead to deadly consequences and destroy oral health if left untreated. Not only this, it becomes a significant threat to your life. Early detection is key to the successful treatment of oral cancer, so don’t delay! While regular dental checkups may not seem like they can detect oral cancer, most dentists are trained to look for signs of the disease. Dentists are also more likely to have access to specialized equipment that can help with early detection. Suppose you’re worried about your risk for oral cancer or have noticed any changes in your mouth. In that case, it is crucial to make an appointment with your dentist immediately.
At what Age Should I Start Getting Regular Screenings?
Adults above 45 should start getting regular screenings every three years. If you have a family history or prior diagnoses, you may need more frequent screenings from earlier ages, such as 30+.
Can Dentists detect Oral Cancer?
Yes, oral cancer can be detected by dentists. Most dentists tend to examine your mouth during your routine oral health checkup.