Our Chehalis, WA, dentist Dr. Michael White encourages everyone to get oral cancer screenings once a year. If you don’t remember the last time you came in for a cleaning and checkup, then it’s time you did. After all, these six-month appointments aren’t just for the prevention and early detection of decay and gum disease, it could also catch oral cancer early on when it’s highly treatable.
What goes into an oral cancer screening?
This screening is simple and is often performed during a routine dental checkup. Our dental team will look for any abnormal tissue, lumps or lesions. Any changes to the overall color or texture of the oral tissue are potential warning signs. Since oral cancer can be found just about anywhere in the mouth we will take time to examine all areas thoroughly.
If there is something that requires further testing we will sit down and discuss it with you. Otherwise, this screening is quick, painless and the best tool we have for detecting oral cancer early.
Who is at risk for oral cancer?
As with most forms of cancer, many people assume that older individuals are more susceptible; however, over the last few years, there have been more cases of younger individuals developing oral cancer. This is due to the HPV virus. The HPV virus can be contracted as early as someone’s teens, and it can happen to both men and women.
Other risks for oral cancer include heavy alcohol consumption and smoking. If you have any of these risk factors that you should schedule an oral cancer screening with our Chehalis, WA, family dentist as soon as possible. We can also discuss how often you should come in for routine screenings.
What are the signs of oral cancer?
When we screen for oral cancer we are often looking for these warning signs,
- Hard and/or painful lump
- Red and white patches
- Lesions or sores that bleed or don’t heal
- Trouble moving the jaws or tongue
- Unexplained weight loss
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental cleaning then it’s time to schedule your next routine checkup. Call our Chehalis, WA, dental practice today at (360) 748-0168.