Do You Need an Oral Cancer Screening?

Do You Need an Oral Cancer Screening?

Do You Need an Oral Cancer Screening?

Do You Need an Oral Cancer Screening?

December 7, 2021
oral cancer screening

Preventative dental procedures often include services like dental cleanings, sealants, fluoride treatments, X-rays, and more. You may only get these treatments once or twice a year. However, they are quite helpful in preventing abscesses, cavities, and other types of dental conditions. 


Amid all these, there is one preventative dental service that many people do not think about. This is oral cancer screening. This is unfortunate because this type of screening can be extremely helpful. As such, it is crucial to learn about this type of screening, including what it entails and how you could benefit from it. 




What Is Oral Cancer Screening?



This is an examination performed by a doctor or dentist to look for signs of precancerous conditions or cancer in the mouth. The purpose is to identify oral cancer early when chances of successful treatment are greater. A good dentist will screen for oral cancer during your routine dental examination. 


Some dentists perform additional tests to help identify areas of the mouth with abnormal tests. But if you are a healthy individual without risk factors for mouth cancer, you might be wondering whether you need an oral cancer screening. 




Will a Screening Save Your Life?



Most medical organizations and health professionals seem to agree that no single oral cancer screening test or oral exam will minimize your risk of dying of oral cancer. But based on your risk factors, you and your dentist may decide that a special test or oral exam is right for you. 




Why You Should Consider an Oral Cancer Screening



The goal of this type of screening is to detect precancerous lesions that may lead to mouth cancer or developed cancer at an early stage. This is when these conditions are easiest to address or cure. Some medical professionals recommend screening, while others insist that there is not enough evidence to make an informed recommendation. 


However, if you have a high risk of developing oral cancer, you are more likely to benefit from screening. Some of the factors that can increase your risk of developing this condition include:
 

  • A previous diagnosis of oral cancer.
     

  • Heavy tobacco use, including cigarettes, pipes, cigars, snuff, chewing tobacco, among others.
     

  • History of significant exposure to the sun, which can increase your risk of developing lip cancer.
     

  • Heavy alcohol use.




American Dental Association Recommendations



Your dentist probably likes to examine your mouth every six months or so. That way, they can watch out for signs of gum disease and cavities. However, you need to understand that your dentist can play a critical role in detecting cancer at an early stage. Essentially, this type of screening is the first line of defense against oral cancer, according to many medical professionals.




Bottom Line



Your chances of successful treatment of oral cancer may depend on early detection. This is the reason many dentists and physicians recommend having regular oral cancer screenings. If you are over 20 years of age, you should have a cancer screening that examines your entire mouth every three years. For those over 40, an annual oral cancer screening is a good idea.




To learn more about oral cancer screenings, visit Armbrust Dental at our office in Omaha, Nebraska. You can also call 402-396-0003 to book an appointment today.