Cavities and gum disease aren’t the only dental diseases that can impact the health and wellbeing of your smile. It’s estimated that over 54,000 new cases of oral cancer will occur in 2021, with nearly 11,000 of those leading to death. With this in mind, having your mouth regularly examined at the dentist for signs of oral cancer is essential. The dentists At Walnut Creek Dental want to make your oral cancer screening as convenient and relaxing as possible. Check out these facts about how oral cancer screenings could benefit you before scheduling your next appointment.

 

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Do I Need an Oral Cancer Screening?

Cancer screenings are a common preventative dental procedure that the dentists perform during all new and routine dental exams by examining the person’s mouth for signs of cancer. For most people, this process is completely pain-free and quick. Oral screenings are performed every six months in order to identify the early symptoms of cancer before it progresses and is harder to treat.

During your oral screening, the dentists will look for concerning signs on your gums, tongue, and the soft tissues of your mouth, sure as sores, discoloration, or inflammation. He will also feel the inside of your mouth and neck for abnormalities, such as lumps. If he does identify anything of concern, he may choose to monitor it and schedule a follow-up appointment at a later date or have a biopsy taken to determine if cancer is present.

Common Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer usually presents physical signs that can be seen or felt early on by a dentist. Some of the most common symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Lumps in a person’s mouth or neck
  • A sore that doesn’t heal within three weeks
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Long-lasting sore throat
  • Pain or tenderness anywhere in the person’s mouth

If you discover one or more of these symptoms, it’s important to seek professional oral cancer screening and treatment right away. While they don’t always mean you have oral cancer, recognizing oral cancer as early as possible is the key to treating it quickly and effectively.

 

Where Do Oral Cancers Occur?

Oral cancers don’t only affect older people or those who have a history of cancer. Like other forms of cancer, it can occur to any person, regardless of their age, ethnicity, or medical history. While this is true, some factors could make a person more likely to develop oral cancer, such as:

  • Consuming alcohol
  • Using tobacco
  • Sun exposure
  • Age
  • Other health conditions, such as HPV

Oral cancer can occur anywhere in a person’s oral cavity, including their lips, cheeks, and all around their tongue.

Why Are Oral Cancer Screenings Important?

If your mouth looks and feels normal to you, you may not think oral cancer screenings are necessary, but that’s simply not true. Having your mouth inspected every six months is a critical step in preventing and catching oral cancer before it causes more serious complications. If the dentists do identify oral cancer in your mouth, early detection will not only make oral cancer screenings and  treatment smoother but can increase your chances of surviving the disease.

Oral Cancer Screenings Cost

Most dental insurance plans cover oral screenings along with routine exams and professional cleanings. To learn more about what your particular dental insurance plan covers, please contact our office.

 

Walnut Creek Dental Can Help Keep Your Mouth Healthy

The friendly team at Walnut Creek Dental want to help you keep your smile as healthy as possible. Having your mouth examined regularly for signs of oral cancer, risks, diagnosis and treatment is a simple way to ensure that you can keep on smiling for years to come. If you haven’t been to the dentist recently, now is the time to prioritize your oral health. Give us a call today to schedule your routine dental exam, cleaning, and dental cancer screening.