It may not sound like a commonality, but oral cancer is something that affects us more often than you think. In fact, 132 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer every hour of every day and 640,000 new cases each year worldwide. And dental professionals are the only ones that can diagnose us – this is why it is important to keep your dental appointments.
As part of your routine dental exam, your dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening exam. More specifically, your dentist will feel for any lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, face, and oral cavity. When examining your mouth, your dentist will look for any sores or discolored tissue as well as check for any signs and symptoms mentioned above and may perform an oral brush biopsy if they see tissue in your mouth that looks suspicious. This test is painless and involves taking a small sample of the tissue and analyzing it for abnormal cells. Alternatively, if the tissue looks more suspicious, your dentist may recommend a scalpel biopsy. This procedure usually requires local anesthesia and may be performed by your dentist or a specialist. These tests are necessary to detect oral cancer early, before it has had a chance to progress and spread.
See your dentist on a regular schedule. Even though you may be conducting frequent self-exams, sometimes dangerous spots or sores in the mouth can be very tiny and difficult to see on your own.
The American Cancer Society recommends oral cancer screening exams every 3 years for persons over age 20 and annually for those over age 40.
During your next dental appointment, ask your dentist to perform an oral exam. Early detection can improve the chance of successful treatment.
If you have questions or concerns regarding oral cancer, contact Dr. Tayefi, DDS at (905) 237-7842 to schedule a consultation today, or visit www.artdentfamilydentistry.com for additional information.
Dr. Elham Tayefi proudly serves Ontario and all surrounding areas.