As dentistry has evolved, and we have gained a better understanding of the true nature of the mouth, it has become possible to identify and treat more conditions quickly and appropriately, using the most conservative methods possible. While you may envision your dental visits to involve routine x-rays, imaging, and manual visualization of teeth and gums, you are also encouraged to consider the immense benefit of the oral cancer screening. Patients near our Greensboro, NC dental office, are often surprised to hear that this type of screening can be performed at every dental check-up.
The oral cancer screening is an adjunct examination that goes hand in hand with the routine exam process. There is typically no special testing that need by done to assess for potentially cancerous and precancerous lesions on the soft tissues of the mouth. When detected early, oral cancer is very treatable and has a greatly improved survival rate.
Every person can benefit from oral cancer screening, even those without specific risk factors. Individuals who are especially encouraged to have their dentist regularly perform oral cancer screenings have risk factors such as:
When performing the visual, oral cancer examination, Dr. Hatcher observes the tissues in the mouth, including the cheek, gums, tongue, and even under the tongue. Abnormalities in tissue may appear as sores or small patches of red or white tissue. In addition to visually inspecting tissues, palpitation will be done to feel for abnormalities such as lumps.
Just under 300,000 people in our country have oral cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 8,000 deaths per year can be attributed to this disease. With early detection, treatment can be quickly carried out in the most conservative manner possible.
Talk with your dentist about adding oral cancer screenings to your routine dental check-ups.