Oral Cancer Screenings – An Important Part Of Your General Dental Checkup

Posted on December 11, 2020 in Dental Procedures, General Dentistry

During your regular dental checkup twice yearly, the Smile Hilliard team takes great pride in covering all the bases. We do a thorough examination, which includes an oral cancer screening.

You may not have known that your dental checkup involves this routine screening, but the importance is significant in catching the early signs of the disease and successfully treating it as soon as possible. Like most cancers and other diseases, early detection is the best way to predict a healthy outcome.  

The next time you are in the office for your oral examination with Dr. Rachel Sanyk, you will be ready for your oral cancer screening after reviewing the following information. Peace of mind can afford you a stress-free post-visit, and as we recheck for oral cancer each time you are here for your overall exam, you will be up to date with your dental care, including this specific screening. 

These common questions below related to oral cancer screenings are sure to cover any concerns you may have. Our patients are like family, and we want to be sure you are well-informed about this portion of your visit. 

Is There Anything I Can Do To Prevent Oral Cancer? Is It Common?

Close to 50,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with oral cancer annually. It can be successfully treated with early detection – that is why we are strong believers in screening our patients for signs of this cancer during the regular dental exam.

As for what you can do to help prevent the onset of oral cancer, your lifestyle and everyday habits play a significant role. For example, avoiding tobacco products is a positive move. Not only in terms of oral cancer, but for your health in general. Don’t smoke, chew tobacco, etc. The same goes for alcohol. Drink moderately or avoid it altogether. Steer clear of harmful UV rays and prolonged exposure to direct/excessive sunlight. Eat healthfully and nutritiously, for overall good health as well as an oral cancer prevention step. Any trauma to the oral area could be a cause as well, and genetic factors which we cannot control could also be at play.

These risk factors are the most common, so do what you can to improve your lifestyle habits as a step in a smart direction. Naturally, you can’t change your genetic makeup, but learn about your family history in terms of oral cancer, and share the information with your dentist during your next visit at Smile Hilliard.

What Areas Of The Mouth Does Oral Cancer Affect?

Oral cancer can strike various areas of the oral region, including the tongue, lips, inner cheeks, palate, and gums. If cancer is found at the top of the throat right behind the mouth, it is referred to as oropharyngeal cancer. 

How Does The Dentist Screen For Oral Cancer During My Routine Dental Examination?

First, know that the oral cancer screening will not be uncomfortable or painful. You can be sure that we are taking measures to make you comfortable, as we do during any service or procedure you come in for.

The dentist will look and feel around your mouth, searching for any abnormalities such as sores,  growths, lesions, lumps, bumps, and bleeding. This is the general procedure to seek out signs of pre-cancer or early cancer. If anything seems abnormal or questionable, follow-up steps will be taken for further testing, perhaps a biopsy or swab to test for the presence of cancerous cells. 

If you experience any soreness, pain, swelling, bleeding, or other signs that something is just not right, book an appointment without delay.  In general, any lesion that does not resolve within 2 weeks requires Dr. Sanyk to take a look.  

Every 3-5 years, we will take a panoramic x-ray of your oral area, which gives an in-depth view of your sinuses, jaw, and facial joints. This x-ray allows for early oral cancer detection before any signs visible to the naked eye have a chance to emerge. 

Are You Booked For Your Twice Yearly Dental Exam At Smile Hilliard?

If you are not already scheduled for your next general cleaning and examination, now is the time to get on top of it. We are carefully COVID-19 compliant in terms of our updated procedures, disinfecting processes, and other safety measures. Do not let the pandemic affect your oral health. 

If you need to book an appointment, please contact us ASAP. Our office hours are Monday – Thursday, from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Please give us a call at (614) 953-5239 to speak with one of our Patient Care Coordinators who will happily assist you. You can also request an appointment on our website here. Fill in your information and submit your inquiry. Someone from the office will get back to you quickly to get you scheduled.

We look forward to seeing you soon and providing the dental care you deserve. Your oral cancer examination will be part of your exam as a proactive measure to keep you healthy.