How Often Should You Have a Dental Checkup for Cancer?

How Often Should You Have a Dental Checkup for Cancer?

May 1, 2022

Your dentist recommends that you visit them every six months for dental exams and cleanings to ensure your dental and oral health is in prime condition. While you may accept your dentist’s view and see them frequently to get your mouth and teeth examined would you behave similarly if your dentist recommended you also have a dental checkup for oral cancer?

You would probably jump out of the dentist’s chair when you hear the term ‘cancer,’ thinking the dentist is trying to pull your leg. However, are you aware oral cancer screening is an essential part of every dental checkup, and you receive the examination without realizing it? If not, we suggest you continue reading this article to understand why oral cancer screenings are essential.

Why Is Oral Cancer Screening Important?

Oral cancer screening doesn’t indicate you have this devastating disease in your mouth or even suggests you could be prone to the condition. Unfortunately, if you are accustomed to the risk factors that might make you prone to oral cancer-detecting the condition early during regular dental exams provides better outcomes if you are detected with the condition.

Dentists recommend these screenings for everyone over 40 every year. People with risk factors such as using tobacco, excessive alcohol use, having human papillomavirus a family history of cancer benefit from early detection of oral cancer when treatment outcomes are optimal.

Adults over 20 are recommended oral cancer screenings every three years but nevertheless receive one whenever they visit oral cancer screening in the colony, TX. Dentists are trained to perform oral cancer screenings and routinely do so when patients visit them for regular exams. Oral cancer screenings are not scary and are completed in under five minutes. Furthermore, dentists don’t charge any extra fees because the screenings are incorporated with the exams.

What Does Oral Cancer Screening Involve?

Oral cancer screenings start with a clinical exam of your mouth and throat. You might find it intriguing why your dentist is looking at areas of your mouth other than your teeth and gums. However, if you try to understand the oral cancer screening dentist looks for abnormal ulcerations, swelling, bumps, changes in color, et cetera, you will realize the professional is trying to make sure you don’t have any unusual developments in your mouth that might aggravate to oral cancer.

When examining your mouth, the dentist checks all areas, including the mouth’s roof, tonsils, outside of the cheeks, tongue, and gums. The dentist also palpates the jaw, neck, outside of the cheeks, beneath the chin, looking for unusual masses and firm nodules.

If dentists discover any abnormalities, they might use a special dye or light to evaluate the area further for oral cancer. Some standard tests dentists perform include:

  • Using laser lights that help reflect abnormal tissues differently than normal tissue.
  • Applying toluidine blue dye over the suspicious area, which turns blue if irregular tissue is detected.
  • Asking you to rinse your mouth with an acetic acid solution to examine the abnormal area in your mouth with a special light.

The examination is a precautionary measure to ensure you don’t have any abnormal lesions in your mouth that might indicate cancer later.

When Should You Get Screened for Oral Cancer?

When thinking about oral cancer screenings, you don’t have to visit an oncologist a specialist in cancer diagnosis and treatment. Instead, if you are diligent with your dental visits every six months or a year, you receive an oral cancer screening from the dentist during your exams.

Dentists also recommend adults self examine every month, looking for signs of oral cancer in their mouths, and report any changes they notice promptly. If you don’t understand what to look for in your mouth that might indicate suspicious growths, it includes white patches, lumps, sores, and report them to your dentist for evaluation.

If you receive an abnormal oral cancer screening, dentists don’t provide any treatment for the condition but refer you to an experienced oncologist for help. Oral cancer needs a multispecialty team, including pathologists, radiologists, oncologists, and other specialists working collectively together to ensure you receive the best treatment and care possible.

However, trying to put off oral cancer screening from Main Dentistry is an error you mustn’t commit when you visit them for your regular dental exam. The screening is a precautionary measure that helps avoid unnecessary problems needing treatments from various specialists.

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