When you go to the dentist for a checkup, you will receive several different services. Teeth cleaning and x-rays are two of the most popular services included in a checkup, but most dentists also provide oral cancer screenings. These screenings are simple and fast, and they are designed to detect signs of oral cancer. Here are three things you should know about oral cancer screenings provided by dentists.
Who Is At Risk For Oral Cancer?
Anyone can develop oral cancer; however, people who use tobacco products are at a higher risk. Dentists typically perform oral cancer screenings on every patient that visits their offices for checkups though, regardless of whether they use tobacco or not. As with any type of cancer, detecting it early is vital for treatment. If you have cancer, your chances of surviving it are much greater if you are able to treat it quickly.
While dentists perform oral cancer screenings, they are not trained to treat cancer in patients. When they see signs that appear questionable in a person's mouth, they will typically refer the patients to a specialist for further evaluation.
People that have a family history of oral cancer also have a higher risk of developing it, and people who are in the sun a lot may also have a greater risk.
How Is Oral Cancer Diagnosed?
Oral cancer often begins with sores developing in the mouth. These sores can grow and spread, and they will basically begin to kill the good tissue in the mouth. When a dentist performs an oral cancer screening, he or she will look in all areas of the mouth for signs. If the dentist sees sores or tissue that appears odd in appearance, he or she will want you to get further evaluation.
Oral surgeons are dental specialists that can treat oral cancer issues, and they often begin by taking a biopsy of the odd-looking tissue in a person's mouth. A biopsy refers to removing a portion of the tissue to have it tested. A lab will test the tissue to determine if it is cancerous or not. If it is not, you will need no further treatment. If it is, you will need to go through a treatment process.
The treatment process might include removing the affected tissue, or it might include chemotherapy or radiation. This will depend on the severity of the condition and the amount of tissue affected by the disease.
Are There Ways To Prevent Oral Cancer?
Cancer is a disease that has no cure; however, there are many procedures that can prevent it from spreading once you have it. It is always better to try to avoid developing cancer if possible, and one of the best ways to avoid getting oral cancer is by not using tobacco products. The use of tobacco is known for causing oral cancer and other types of cancer, but people that do not use tobacco products could still develop oral cancer.
Another good step to take is proper care of your teeth and mouth. Taking good care of your mouth can help you prevent developing gum disease and other oral problems. Visiting your dentist regularly is also important, because this is a great way to get diagnosed with oral cancer at an early stage.
There is really nothing you can do to prevent oral cancer completely, but taking good care of yourself is always a good idea for health purposes.
If you see a strange growth in your mouth, or if you have sores that will not go away, visit a general dental clinic today. A dentist can perform an oral cancer screening, which could help you take the right steps for your health.