Regularly scheduled visits to your dentist are essential for maintaining good oral health. When you go in for your twice-yearly checkup and cleaning, your oral health care professional will thoroughly clean your teeth to minimize the chances of you developing cavities and gingivitis. They will also closely examine your mouth for signs of tooth decay and gum disease. While none of this is probably new information, you may not know that your dentist could also conduct an oral cancer screening. In today’s blog, your Prairie Village, KS prosthodontist discusses the importance of these screenings and what to expect when you undergo one.
It Can Affect Anyone
Oral cancer can appear in anyone, regardless of your habits. Of course, practicing risky behavior, like chewing tobacco or drinking excessively, can contribute, but it can still appear in the mouths of healthy individuals. This is precisely why it is so important for your dentist to conduct a screening. During your normal exam, they will look for visual signs that something might be amiss. They can also utilize digital imaging technology to look beneath the surface of your gums.
What Do We Look For?
When your dentist conducts a thorough oral cancer screening, they look for abnormalities in your mouth. These include abrasions that don’t heal quickly, persistent sores, bleeding, discolored patches of oral tissue, changes in bone structure, and any other thing that seems to be amiss. Should your dentist find anything, they will likely suggest a biopsy be performed. What’s more, is when you come in for a comprehensive screening, your dentist will teach you how to perform your own screening at home. These should occur at least once a month.
Preventive Care Is Essential
Regularly scheduled exams and cleanings are some of the most important things you can do to maintain good oral health. Not only do they give your dentist the opportunity to screen for oral cancer, but they also allow them to look for other, less severe issues. When your teeth are professionally cleaned, a hygienist will remove plaque and tartar, which helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing and flossing at home certainly help minimize bacterial growth, but a professional cleaning is essential as well. Exams are crucial for similar reasons; they allow your dentist to catch issues like gum disease, cavities, and tooth trauma — in addition to oral cancer — before they evolve into more serious problems.
Schedule Your Oral Cancer Screening Today
If your dentist has not been looking for signs of oral cancer, you should request they start. If you have more questions about these screenings or preventative care in general, do not hesitate to Contact Dr. Stuart Dexter, Prosthodontist in Prairie Village, KS by calling 913-362-8200.