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Should I Get an Oral Cancer Screening?

Posted August 22, 2020 in Oral Cancer

Read Time: 2½ Minutes

A cancer diagnosis can be a grave event for any dental patient. However, there is always hope. Thanks to the advancements in cutting-edge dental technologies, oral cancer is now easier to find and diagnose than ever before. Early cancer detection is one of the leading indicators of successful treatment plans. The goal is to diagnose pre-cancers and cancers before any symptoms occur. This is accomplished with in-depth screenings of the cheeks, gums, lips, and tonsils for lesion diagnosis. 

Here is a brief overview of who should receive oral cancer screenings as well as the nature of oral cancer itself.

Oral Cancer Awareness ribbon

Who Needs an Oral Cancer Screening?

There are several different places where oral cancer can develop, including the gums, hard palate, inner cheeks, lips, tongue, and mouth floor. While some dentists contest about when the correct time to get oral cancer screening is, at Gentle Care Dentistry, we believe in being proactive and cautious. That is why we always test mouth lesions despite these lesions not necessarily being indicative of cancer. 

While oral cancer screenings are essential for everyone, those at a higher risk of developing oral cancer (such as smokers and heavy drinkers) may benefit the most. Additionally, patients who have had a previous cancer diagnosis (oral or otherwise) and those who have contracted HPV (the most common sexually transmitted disease) are also more at risk; it is recommended they receive more frequent screenings. 

The best way to stay mentally and emotionally prepared is by getting as much information from your doctor as possible instead of outside sources (such as the internet). At Gentle Care Dentistry, we don’t just look at our patients through clinical eyes but with care and compassion, offering a chance to have an open and safe dialogue about any of the concerns you have regarding oral health

What Kind of Oral Cancer Screenings Are There?

At Gentle Care Dentistry, we offer two forms of oral cancer screening tests. One form of oral cancer screening is a biopsy method, where your dentist will take a small sample of the target area using an exfoliative or incisional technique. The second form of testing, the Panorex, offers a digital X-ray that takes panoramic images of the teeth, jaw, sinuses, and blood vessels in the neck.  

What Happens After My Oral Cancer Screening?

If the professionals at Gentle Care Dentistry discover anything abnormal after the exam process is complete, and results have been thoroughly tested, you may be asked to return for further screening. This is no cause for alarm; further investigation may be required to find a diagnosis for certain results (which are not limited to an oral cancer diagnosis). 

The American Dental Association (ADA) points out that early diagnosis reduces treatment-related health problems significantly throughout your journey. While oral cancer is definitely frightening, it can often be treated with an early diagnosis.

Interested in Learning More?

If you would like more information about oral cancer screening, give our office a call at (575) 524-3722 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment today.