What to Know About an Oral Cancer Screenings and Dental Check-Ups

Oral Cancer Screening Boca Raton, FL

One early detection exam that the importance of is often understated is oral cancer screening. While some people may not have risk factors, it is still essential to check the mouth for signs of this disease. Fortunately, if a person goes to regular dental check-ups, a cursory search of the mouth is likely already being done. Discover why this screening should be on your radar and what are some of the signs a dentist may notice.

Oral cancer basics and common risk factors

It may not be something talked about as often as other types, but oral cancer is not to be taken lightly. According to Cancer.Net, roughly 58,000 adults will find out they have oral cancer this year. This type of cancer occurs more often in men than in women. Cancer.net reports it is the eighth most frequently diagnosed cancer in males. As such, getting screened is crucial.

Certain habits and risk factors may lead some dentists to recommend that a patient get more frequent screenings:

  • History of tobacco use
  • Frequent alcohol consumption
  • Prolonged exposure to the sun
  • Previous diagnosis of any other cancer

If a patient with higher risk is found to have indications of oral cancer, the dentist is likely to move forward with a biopsy or additional testing to rule it out.

The dentist's role in oral cancer screening

Regular annual or semi-annual trips for regular dental cleanings and examinations gives the dentist the perfect opportunity to do an oral cancer screening. There is a good chance patients have been getting this screening done without knowing it. A dental practitioner has a good vantage point to take note of things appearing in the mouth that do not belong there. If anything becomes of concern, the dentist should alert the patient and either conduct further testing in office or recommend another doctor become involved. 

During a routine check-up, the dentist may see or feel evidence that may point to a possible oral cancer diagnosis. Become familiar with the two most common indicators.

Lesions or sores

There is a good chance that at some point, every person gets a sore in the mouth. These in and of themselves are not indicators of oral cancer. However, a dentist has the knowledge to distinguish between routine anomalies, such as canker sores, and those that may warrant further investigation. Sores that are white or splotchy red lesions typically signal an infection of some kind. If a patient indicates that the sores are prevalent, cause pain and never seem to go away, it may be cause for further investigation.

Lumps

A dentist may see or feel raised bumps around the mouth that were either not present at the prior exam or should not be there. A patient should immediately report any appearance of bumps or lumps, especially if they have been painful or had any kind of discharge or taste.

Conclusion

A dentist's role as a medical provider is more comprehensive than patients may believe. When it comes to oral cancer screening, these practitioners are on the frontlines.

Are you considering an oral cancer screening in the Boca Raton area? Get more information at https://www.ismileboca.com.

Request an appointment here: https://www.ismileboca.com or call iSmile Dental - Dr. James Helmy at (561) 225-2054 for an appointment in our Boca Raton office.

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