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How Often Should You Have an Oral Cancer Screening?

How Often Should You Have an Oral Cancer Screening?

Nov 01, 2022

Are you aware of how often you must have an oral cancer screening performed? It is crucial that you care for your mouth as best possible by brushing and flossing your teeth and getting six monthly oral prophylaxis with the dentist in Seattle, WA when you receive oral cancer screening without even realizing it.

The American Dental Association confirms that oral cancer is the sixth most prevalent cancer globally. Estimates state that approximately 55,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer annually, resulting in 25 percent fatalities among them. Unfortunately, oral cancer remains undetected in the mouth unless you receive regular screenings from the dental office in Seattle, WA.

When oral cancer is detected early, the chances of survival are higher because treatments deliver optimal outcomes. Therefore getting yourself screened for this devastating condition is recommended by the American Dental Association at regular intervals for your dental and overall health.

Oral Cancer Screening Explained

Oral cancer originates in the mouth, and dentists are professionals you see most often for cleanings and exams. You do not require to schedule separate appointments with oncologists to get yourself screened for oral cancer. Instead, dentists receive training for the screening and perform a thorough examination of your mouth to detect sources that might indicate oral cancer. Dentists require five minutes of your time to conduct oral cancer screening when they look at all areas of your mouth other than your teeth and gums. You might find it surprising that your dentist is looking at your head, neck, throat, cheeks, and tongue when they should be examining and cleaning your teeth. You will not realize that the dentist completed oral cancer screening unless they detect any suspicious growths or tissues in your mouth that might indicate oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Self Checks at Home

The cancer foundation suggests everyone perform self-checks for oral cancer, looking for signs of red and white patches, lumps, and lesions that don’t subside within two weeks or suspicious growths that they feel need attention to report their concerns to dentists. You can perform an oral cancer check on yourself to ensure no suspicious changes are present in your mouth. However, visiting the Seattle dental office gives you access to the screening from a professional with the training to perform it.

Risk Factors Contributing to Oral Cancer

You are considered at a higher risk of oral cancer if you smoke or chew tobacco, consume excessive alcohol, have a family history of cancer, do not care about eating nutritious foods, or spend plenty of time in the sunlight without protective measures.

How Often Should You Consider Getting Screened for Oral Cancer?

Generally, everyone should receive oral cancer screenings at least every 12 months by a dental professional or a dental hygienist. However, as everyone is different, it is advisable to discuss with dentists how often they must walk in for oral cancer screenings because some people may need frequent screenings.

When Did You Receive Your Last Oral Cancer Screening?

The probability is that you received a screening for oral cancer when you saw your dentist for dental exams at least a year ago, as many people are not diligent with scheduling six monthly exams with their dentist. Therefore if it has been over a year since you got screened, the time to receive a screening again has gone past. As mentioned earlier, the sooner oral cancer is detected in the mouth and you receive oral cancer screening treatment in Seattle, WA, the better the treatment outcome. As the success rate of treating cancer in the early stages is higher, you find it beneficial to receive the examination from your oral health care provider without wasting time.

Getting screened for oral cancer doesn’t mean you are affected by this devastating condition. It is merely a preventive measure to ensure optimal oral health and poses no risk to your overall health. Even if the dentist detects suspicious lesions or growths in your mouth, the treatment for oral cancer doesn’t begin immediately. Dentists do not treat oral cancer themselves but refer you to oncologists specialists to deal with these conditions by conducting biopsies before they confirm the presence of oral cancer and suggest treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, to help manage the situation. Therefore you must welcome the screenings to ensure you are not affected by a disease that proves fatal for 25 percent of the population diagnosed with oral cancer.

If you haven’t scheduled your six-monthly exam with your dentist, we suggest you do so immediately by calling Ballard Dentistry. Besides examining your teeth and gums, the practice also provides oral cancer screenings for the safety of your mouth and general health. Call them today to schedule your appointment for a comprehensive mouth exam.

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