Have you ever thought about getting an oral cancer screening? Your dentist can take care of this at any visit. These screenings are critical to maintaining your health and avoiding serious long-term issues. If you have not done this at a dental appointment, talk to your dentist today. It is good to be prepared for the screening and understand what will take place. You can then have peace of mind knowing that you are doing your part for your overall wellness.
An understanding of oral cancer
Cancer of the mouth is the uncontrollable growth of cells that attack tissue. This type of cancer can affect any part of the mouth. This includes the tongue, cheeks, lips, hard and soft palate, roof and floor of the mouth, and the throat. If untreated, oral cancer can be life-threatening.
Symptoms of this form of cancer include bleeding in the mouth, swelling, lumps and bumps in the mouth. Also, sores on the face, neck, or mouth are signs of the disease. A person with this type of cancer may also have difficulty chewing or speaking. There can also be a loss of feeling or numbness in any part of the mouth.
Causes and risk factors
Like any type of cancer, this disease is the result of various issues and habits. Men over the age of 50 are most likely to get it. Genetics can play a role, as can extensive exposure to the sun. People who smoke or drink excessively are more prone to getting oral cancer.
When to get an oral cancer screening
As soon as a child has teeth, regular dental appointments should begin. People of all ages should go in for checkups at least every six months. At these visits, the dentist will examine the patient’s teeth and gums for damage or disease. Oral cancer screenings should also take place at this time. Most dentists will check at every other visit or once a year.
What the dentist does and looks for
A person may not always be able to suspect or detect oral cancer on their own. At a dental appointment, the dentist can screen for the disease. The dentist will do this by feeling for lumps or looking for irregular growths in the neck, face, or mouth. The dentist will also watch for sores or tissue that has changed color.
Diagnosis and treatment
If, during the screening, the dentist suspects that the patient has oral cancer, a biopsy will be necessary. The dentist will take a piece of the suspicious area to determine whether there is cancer. Treating cancer of the mouth typically involves surgery to remove the growth, followed by radiation or chemotherapy. To prevent this type of cancer, patients should avoid smoking, avoid prolonged time in the sun, and eat a healthy diet.
Be aware of cancer and its effects
When you go to the dentist’s office, you may think mostly about your teeth and gums. But oral cancer can be more serious than any dental condition. Your dentist can keep an eye on signs of this disease through an oral cancer screening. You can rest at ease knowing that prevention and treatment are possible.
Request an appointment here: https://www.dentistrywalnutcreek.com or call Advanced Dentistry Of Walnut Creek at (925) 937-2273 for an appointment in our Walnut Creek office.
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