Should I Get Oral Cancer Screenings From My Dentist?

Posted October 29, 2013 by .

The answer is yes. As a Burlington dentist, I cannot stress enough the importance of getting screened for oral cancer on a regular basis.

Head and neck cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide. In previous years, people at a high risk for developing head and neck cancer were generally elderly male chronic smokers and alcohol users.

But over the years that stat has substantially changed. Health care professionals (like dentists and family doctors) are now seeing a significant increase in high risk individuals as the incidence of smoking is declining and the younger population is becoming more sexually active.

HPV Contributes To Oral Cancer

HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is on the rise and oral examinations are finding that HPV is a significant contributing factor to oral cancer. There are means of reducing the risk of oral cancer like regular brushing and flossing but if you’re avoiding regular visits to your dental hygienist, you’re increasing your risk of contracting the disease.

What Are The Symptoms Of HPV?

Some symptoms of HPV in the mouth may include: difficulty or pain when swallowing, lesions in the mouth and around the gums that do not heal, a feeling of something being stuck in the back of the throat, unusual bleeding in the mouth, and a sore throat that does not respond to medication.

If you live in Burlington and are experiencing any of these symptoms you’re advise to make an appointment with your dentist for an examination as soon as possible. These kinds of symptoms are general signs that you have the disease and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Where Exactly Is HPV In My Mouth?

Locations for HPV in the mouth are most commonly found at the base of the tongue right near the back of the throat and the tonsil area.

Because this location is deep near the back of the through, it is pretty much impossible for the patient to see and self diagnose. This is why a comprehensive oral cancer screening should be done at each visit to the dental office by your registered dental hygienist and dentist.

What’s Involved In Oral Cancer Screening? Does It Hurt?

No it does not hurt at all. An oral cancer screening consists of your dentist and hygienist looking and feeling for any abnormalities on the outside of the head and neck and the inside of the mouth at all the soft tissue.

Your dentist or hygienist will look at the back of the throat, the palate, gums, lips and underneath the tongue.

One of the benefits of an oral cancer screening is that if there are any other dental problems, your dentists will most likely find them as well. As we age, different ailments seems to arise from time to time and ailments in the mouth are no different.

They do happen and discovering if you have a problem before if becomes serious is pertinent to treating the disease successfully.

I Feel Great, Should I Still Arrange A Screening With My Dentist?

Absolutely. Early detection and/or diagnosis of all possible head and neck squamous cell carcinomas, or any type of oral cancers are crucial to contributing to the survival rate of these diseases.

If your a patient of Dr. Mary Anne New or are looking for a new dentist and would like to arrange a screening, simply book an appointment with our dental office today and make sure you’re on the safe side.

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