You know that you are supposed to visit your dentist in Rocky River twice a year for a cleaning and checkup. Unfortunately, you may be among the 36% of adults who did not schedule an appointment last year. These routine visits are important for more than just keeping your teeth and gums healthy. They are also vital for oral cancer screenings, which allow you to detect the disease early. With more than 9,700 deaths per year from oral cancer, it is more important than ever before for you to maintain your semi-annual appointments.
Why Do I Need an Oral Cancer Screening?
Every year, more than 49,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with oral cancer. Sadly, 1 person per day will die from it. On average, only half of those who are diagnosed will live longer than 5 years. This is largely due to late detection.
Often, the cancer is not detected until it has metastasized to other areas of the body, making it difficult to treat. With early detection, the survival rate significantly increases. To find the cancer early, dentists play a valuable role. A regular oral cancer screening can detect as much as 84% of oral cancer cases early.
Although you may not hear much discussion about oral cancer, everyone is at risk for it, especially those who:
- Are over the age of 40
- Smoke or use tobacco
- Drink alcohol in excess
- Have the human papillomavirus
- Are male
- Eat an unhealthy diet
- Undergo prolonged sun exposure
Even if you are not at a heightened risk for it, it is best to have a screening performed at your routine dental appointments.
How is an Oral Cancer Screening Performed?
At your routine dental appointment, your family dentist in Rocky River does more than just look at the health of your teeth and gums. They also look for early signs of oral cancer, which can include:
- Red or white patches in the mouth or on the lips
- Sores or spots that bleed or will not heal
- Lumps or hard spots in the mouth
- Unexplained numbness or pain
In addition to a visual examination, a special screening may be performed that highlights potential cancerous or precancerous cells. If your dentist finds a concerning area, a biopsy will be performed by taking a tissue sample. They will then notify you of the results to determine if you need additional care.
Benefit from an Oral Cancer Screening
An oral cancer screening is a simple and pain-free way to monitor your health. If you have not had a cleaning or checkup recently, you now have another reason to schedule your next dental appointment. Do not wait. Contact your dentist today.
About Dr. William L. Eick
For more than 20 years, Dr. William L. Eick has provided comprehensive dental care to the community. In addition to dental services, he also offers oral cancer screenings as part of his regular preventive care. If you have not had a screening recently, contact our office today to schedule your appointment.