Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer, like any other type of cancer, can be fatal. However, if we discover signs of oral cancer in one of its early stages, it can be treated. Oral cancer screenings are a regular part of every six-month exam. In fact, these screenings are one of the reasons why it is so important that you come in twice a year. If you wait more than six months to come see us at Aspire Dental Spa, it is possible that the cancer will have spread, making it more difficult to treat.
What Do We Do During an Oral Cancer Screening?
Typically, we do an oral cancer screening while we are visually inspecting your mouth before a cleaning. During this time, we look for any signs of oral cancer along with signs of many other conditions. If we find something that we believe could be an early sign of oral cancer, we will do a more in-depth exam and may need to run tests.
Any time you are concerned that you may have oral cancer, we certainly encourage you to call us and schedule an appointment. It is always better to have an exam than to let something go, especially when it comes to cancer. Even if it is not oral cancer, if you have something odd with your mouth, it needs to be investigated. Lesions and pain are not normal, and you should come in for any abnormality that lasts more than a few days or is recurring.
Additional Testing for Oral Cancer
If we are concerned with a lesion or other issue we find in your mouth, there are a number of tools we can use to determine what it is. We may need to take x-rays of unusual tissue or take a sample of that tissue for a biopsy. This is often the case when we suspect it is a sign of oral cancer. We may also need to use additional tools or procedures such as an endoscopy to better view the area and diagnose your condition.
Who Should Schedule Oral Cancer Screenings?
We will always look for signs of oral cancer during your regular cleanings, of course, but children and teens are generally not at risk as long as they do not use tobacco products. Once you reach your twenties, we will carefully look for oral cancer. If you do not have regular cleanings, you should at least come in once every three years for an oral cancer screening. After age 40, we recommend you get a screening every year. Again, we highly recommend you come in every six months, so we will fold your oral cancer screenings into those appointments.
Who Is at High Risk for Oral Cancer?
If you fall into the high-risk group for oral cancer, it is especially important that you come in every six months for your regular cleaning and oral exam. There are a number of things that can put you in this group, including tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, prolonged exposure to the sun, age, poor diet, poor oral hygiene, and any condition that weakens your immune system.
If you fall into this group and do not have a six-month appointment already scheduled, you need to make one. Call Aspire Dental Spa at (216) 616-9009 to schedule an appointment.