Carrollton TX Dentist Shares the Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings
It’s important for all people to have oral cancer screenings at their bi-annual dental appointments. This easy screening could be lifesaving considering that one American will die each hour from oral cancer. A common misconception is that to have oral cancer, you must be a smoker, but about 25% of cases occur in people that have not smoked.
If oral cancer is caught early, it is highly curable and the prognosis is good. That’s why you want an exam from your dentist in addition to your regularly-scheduled cleaning. Your dentist uses the newest innovations to identify the presence of precancerous abnormalities in the mouth and throat.
Who’s at Risk for Oral Cancer?
While anyone can end up with oral cancer, there are several factors that put you more at risk. These include:
• People over the age of 40
• Those who use tobacco products – this includes chewing tobacco and pipes
• People who drink alcoholic beverages
• Anyone with exposure to HPV (human papillomavirus)
It isn’t uncommon for patients to be found with cancerous cells in the mouth, even at the young age of 18, which is why screening is vital.
What Happens During the Exam?
Your dentist does a physical inspection of your entire mouth first. They are looking for anything that features an abnormal color or texture. They are also looking for sores or lesions in the mouth as well. Then, they might take a small swab of cells which can be viewed at a higher magnification, if they feel there is a reason to.
They will also update your health history chart and probably question you about some symptoms you might be having. This is a good time to discuss anything unusual you’ve noticed. If you want to have a screening performed now, simply make an appointment with your Carrolton TX dentist to get checked out.