Oral cancer, though often overlooked, is a serious condition that can significantly impact your health and well-being. Thankfully, regular screenings play a crucial role in early detection and successful treatment. In today’s blog, our talented restorative dental experts in Leawood, KS, explore the process of oral cancer screenings in our compassionate dental office.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer screenings are typically done at dental checkups. They are designed to detect any signs or symptoms of oral cancer at an early stage when treatment options and outcomes are most favorable. The goal is to identify any abnormalities or suspicious lesions that may indicate the presence of oral cancer.
During your screening, your dentist will perform a thorough examination inside your mouth. They will carefully examine your lips, gums, tongue, cheeks, palate, and floor of the mouth. By visually inspecting these areas, they can identify any unusual or suspicious changes, such as red or white patches, sores that don’t heal, or unexplained swelling. This non-invasive examination is quick and painless. Sometimes special lights can be employed that highlight suspicious areas.
In addition to the intraoral examination, your dentist may also perform a palpation examination around your head and neck. This involves gently feeling the lymph nodes and other soft tissues to check for any abnormalities. The lymph nodes, located along the sides of the neck, can sometimes indicate the presence of oral cancer or its spread to nearby areas. By palpating these regions, dentists can detect any swollen, hard or enlarged lymph nodes, which may warrant further investigation.
How Often Should You Have a Screening?
The frequency can vary depending on your risk factors including your age, overall health, lifestyle habits, and any known red flags. As a general guideline, it is advisable to get an oral cancer screening at least once a year. However, high-risk individuals, such as tobacco and alcohol users, or those with a family history of oral cancer, benefit from screenings more frequently.
Prioritize Your Oral Health
It is essential to prioritize your oral health by actively participating in oral cancer screenings. Early detection through screenings provides the opportunity for timely intervention, leading to higher survival rates and improved treatment outcomes. If you haven’t had an oral cancer screening recently, give us a call at Dreem Dentistry in Leawood, KS by calling )913)681-5500 today!