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How Often Do You Need to Get Oral Cancer Screenings?

How Often Do You Need to Get Oral Cancer Screenings?

July 21, 2023

Oral cancer survival rates have been abysmal for a long time since the disease is often caught when it has advanced, making treatment almost impossible. That’s why we encourage our patients to make a point to visit our dentist for oral cancer screening in Richmond. We have the technology and the expertise to help detect any abnormalities in your oral cavity.

Sadly, most patients assume that dental checkups start and end with cleanings. On the other hand, some patients wait to visit our dentist only when they have a dental emergency. But the truth is regularly visiting our dentist will do much more for your oral health than just keeping cavities at bay.

About Oral Cancer Screening

In the recent past, oral cancer was an issue that affected smokers. What’s more, people above 50 were most likely to get affected. That’s not the trend today. Young people have joined this race because of the HPV16 virus, a sexually transmitted virus that increases the chances of developing oral cancer.

As you can see, getting screened for oral cancer is no longer for people in the high-risk category. So, if you are above 18 years, you should visit our dentist in Richmond, TX, for oral cancer screening.

If you do, this is what you can expect:

    • Visual Examination

The screening will begin with the most basic examination, which will thoroughly examine your oral cavity. So, you can expect our dentist to check your gums, the back of your throat, the outside and inside of your lips, the roof of your mouth, your tongue, the back of your throat, and the inside of your cheeks.

If you have any dental prosthetics or removable dental appliances, our dentist will remove them to ensure that your gums are exposed for examination.

Our dentist will be looking for abnormalities such as bumps, ulcerations, swellings, color variations, and patches in your oral cavity. Also, your saliva will be examined for any abnormalities.

    • Physical Examination

After the visual examination is complete, our dentist in 77469 will proceed to perform a physical examination by touching around the jaw, cheeks, and head, under the chin, under the tongue, and in the mouth.

Our dentist carries out physical examinations to seek unusual masses in your mouth. The examination takes about five minutes.

    • Tests

Our dentist may decide to carry out more tests to ascertain that no abnormalities might have been missed during the physical and visual examination. Tests might be carried out using oral cancer screening dye, which is used to single out abnormal cells that might be present in your mouth.

Also, there are fluorescent lights, which can be used after the mouth has been stained. These lights will help reveal if there are any abnormal tissues within your mouth. The abnormal tissues will appear white when the light shines in your mouth.

If the tests reveal that there might be some abnormalities, further investigation might be necessary. Therefore, you can expect our dentist to carry out extra tests such as exfoliative cytology and biopsy.

It doesn’t mean that you have cancer when these tests are carried out; it simply means that our dentist needs clarification where there is any doubt.

How Often One Should Get Oral Cancer Screening

Even though there could be different schools of thought when it comes to this issue, most dentists agree that oral cancer screening should be done regularly. If you are above 20 years, you will need to come for screening at least once every three years. If you are above 40 or in the high-risk category, you must be screened annually.

Why It’s Important to Check Early?

The death toll associated with oral cancer is very high because the disease is hard to diagnose and is discovered late. The best thing about regularly visiting our dentist is that our dentist will screen you for oral cancer even before oral cancer symptoms show up.

Another challenge is the advent of the HPV16 virus. This virus is currently among the leading causes of the disease. The signs usually begin at the posterior part of the mouth, which you might miss until it’s too late.

Therefore, getting screening will be able to help you stay ahead of the disease. If oral cancer is detected early, there is a better chance you might beat it.

Ensure that you stick to your scheduled appointments. If you haven’t scheduled any, contact us at Charm Dental today.

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