When you think about the dentist’s office, you may picture getting your teeth checked. However, your dentist examines much more than your pearly whites. As a part of your routine checkup, your dentist will carefully look for oral cancer. In fact, dental professionals alone detect around 84% of oral cancer cases. One of these screenings takes just about 2 minutes, making this potentially-lifesaving visit well worth your time. Keep reading to learn more about oral cancer and why screenings with your dentist in Roselle are so important.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
But first, it’s vital to understand the symptoms of oral cancer. While they sound obvious, they’re often hard to recognize, which is why oral cancer screenings are significant for the sake of your health. Common warning signs for oral cancer include:
- Red or white patches in the mouth
- A lump or hard spot in or around the mouth
- Numbness or pain when you bite down on your teeth
- Spots that continuously bleed
- Rough or scaly patches in the mouth
If you notice any of these common symptoms, call your dentist as soon as possible for an oral cancer screening.
Are You at Risk for Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer screenings are especially essential if you have any of these common risk factors:
- Smoking or tobacco use
- Age (people over 40 are more at risk)
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Gender (Men are more susceptible than women)
- Prolonged exposure to sun
- Unhealthy diet
While these factors have been proven to increase risk of oral cancer, there are a growing number of cases that don’t exhibit any of these signs—another reason why an oral cancer screening with an experienced dentist is irreplaceable.
How Dentists Detect Oral Cancer
Oral cancer screenings are an integral part of routine dental checkups. You’ve probably had them before, but they’re so quick and easy that you may not have even noticed. Your dentist will first visually examine your mouth, tongue, cheeks, throat, head, and neck for any abnormalities or warning signs. They will also feel along your jawline and lymph nodes for possible bumps or lumps. If they detect anything, they may order a biopsy for further investigation. They may send a sample of your tissue to a lab for testing. If cancer is in fact detected, you will start treatment immediately. If caught early on, oral cancer has high recovery rates, making these routine checkups more vital than you may have thought.
Now that you know more about oral cancer screenings, when is the last time you saw your dentist for a checkup? Schedule your appointment because it could save your life!
About the Practice
At Roselle Park Dental & Implants, we have a team of 5 highly-trained dentists who are experienced in detecting oral cancer. They take pride in their ability to offer in-depth screenings that only take a matter of minutes. For any questions, they can be reached through their website or by phone at (908) 245-1745.