Dental Prevention: When Was Your Last Oral Cancer Screening?

Dental-Prevention-Oral-Cancer-ScreeningOne of the most important parts of your oral health is dental prevention.  You might not know this, but your dentist is an expert in identifying and diagnosing oral pathology inside of the mouth as well as along the face and neck.

Smokers Aren’t the Only People to Get Oral Cancer

Yes, smoking and smokeless tobacco can increase your risk of developing oral cancer, but other risk factors include viruses like HPV, sun exposure, and genetic predisposition. Even if you’re extremely healthy, eat right and use proper sun protect you can find yourself developing oral cancer. That’s why it’s so important for your dentist to screen for the condition during every preventive care visit.

Early Diagnosis is Key

The earlier oral cancer can be identified, the better outcome you have when it comes to having it treated. Waiting until it is painful or extremely noticeable to have your dentist check it is far too late. In most cases, oral cancer is not evident to people with it until it is very advanced.

What is Your Dentist Looking for?

During your oral cancer screening, your dentist will check for precancerous symptoms and pathology such as tissues that look:

  • Like sores that haven’t healed within a timely manner
  • Red, white, or patchy
  • Different from the tissues around them or on the opposite side of the mouth
  • Lumps, nodules, or sunken in

If abnormal tissue is noted, a biopsy will be ordered for a clinical diagnosis of the skin cells.
Your oral cancer screening can save your life, and is an important reason why dental prevention is a key part of your oral health. If you haven’t had an oral pathology exam in over 6 months or aren’t sure if you’ve ever had one at all – it’s time to call your dentist.
This post is a featured article from Dr. Jordan Beyea at Creative Smiles Family & Cosmetic dentistry located in Gilbert Arizona.