Cancer is a scary word. Even thinking of the implications of a diagnosis sends shivers down our spines, and too often we hear stories that a diagnosis for oral cancer was made too late. Is your dentist offering free oral cancer screenings during your visit with them? At our East Islip office, all of our dental hygiene appointments include a complimentary screening for oral cancers, whether or not you believe yourself to be at risk.
As with most cancers, oral cancer is sometimes a random, unfortunate occurrence. Many times however, there are indicators of a person who may be at a higher risk for developing an oral cancer. Some of these habits or indicators include:
Regardless, early diagnosis is important in treating or preventing oral cancer. Ask your dental hygienist or dentist if they have performed a screening, as not all practices observe or include the feature in their routine appointments.
During your regular visit, your dentist or dental hygienist will inspect the inside of your mouth for an abnormally red or white patches, which may be a sign of cancerous or precancerous tissue. They will also insert a gloved finger and manually feel for any abnormalities. While it is impossible to absolutely confirm oral cancers in this way, it gives your dentist or hygienist an opportunity to assess the risk and if further steps should be taken.
If there is suspicion of oral cancer, your dentist will most likely order you a biopsy, as is the practice at Navarro Dental Group. While there is no direct correlation between oral cancer screenings and the number of lives saved from oral cancer related deaths, it is safe to assume that early diagnosis of an oral cancer leads to a better treatment scenario. In his years practice cosmetic and general dentistry, Dr. Navarro has successfully diagnosed a handful of patients with oral cancer- and after recommending them to an oral surgeon- was able to ultimately contribute to saving their lives.