This simple screening performed by your dentist could end up saving your life.
The next time you visit our Southgate, MI, dentist Dr. Jason Cohen for a dental cleaning our dental hygienist will most likely perform a quick oral cancer screening to look for early warning signs. As with any health screening, an oral cancer screening is designed to catch symptoms early on before cancer progresses.
A screening is the best way to detect oral cancer early on. Of course, everyone should get these screenings, no matter whether they have risk factors for oral cancer or not. Remember, just because our Southgate, MI, general dentist is performing an oral cancer screening does not mean that we think you have cancer. These screenings are performed every time someone comes in for a cleaning, regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms or not.
What are the risk factors for oral cancer?
It’s important to assess your risk. Here are some of the top risk factors for oral cancer:
- Being over 40 years old
- Tobacco use
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Being diagnosed with human papillomavirus (HPV)
- A poor diet
- Prolonged sun exposure
While many people with oral cancer have at least one of these risk factors, there are many people who still develop oral cancer despite not having any risk factors. This is why it’s important to visit your dentist for routine checkups, regardless of whether you are experiencing issues or not. Of course, patients with risk factors may want to talk to us about coming in more regularly for screenings.
What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
When your dentist performs an oral cancer screening these are the symptoms we are looking for:
- A lump or growth in the mouth
- Red or white patches
- A wound that bleeds or won’t heal
- Mouth pain
- Pain when swallowing
During a screening, our dental hygienist or dentist will examine all the soft tissues of your mouth, including the tongue, to look for any changes or early warning signs of oral cancer. If there is a suspicious growth or lump we may decide to biopsy the tissue for further testing. A screening only takes a minute or two, it’s completely painless and it’s performed every time you come in for a checkup and cleaning.
Is it time to schedule your next routine dental exam? Want to talk to us about some of the other dental treatments we offer? Then call Cohen Modern Dentistry in Southgate, MI, today.