Oral Cancer Screening: The Lifesaving Decision

The best dentists in Argyle recognize that an important component of their work involves detecting oral cancer. When the condition is identified early, patients have much greater chances of good treatment outcomes. Unfortunately, though, many patients get their diagnosis so late that the cancer has already spread, and the long-term prognosis is much poorer in these cases.

Oral cancer screenings offer more incentive to visit your dentist every six months for comprehensive exams. This frequency of dental checkups gives your dentist an opportunity to monitor the soft tissues of your mouth for any signs of changes.

The best dentists can recognize certain symptoms that may be cause for concern, such as sores that will not heal, white patches or lumps in the tongue. If you notice a suspicious lesion, bring it to your dentist’s attention. Try not to be overly anxious, though, because most of these turn out to be benign.

Nonetheless, it’s important to know for sure whether any abnormality indicates oral cancer so that you can begin treatment as soon as possible, and a visual exam alone cannot provide a conclusive diagnosis. If your dentist spots something that may be a malignancy, a biopsy will be recommended. You may be referred to an oral surgeon, who will take a tissue sample that will then be sent to a lab for further analysis.

Certain habits, like smoking or using chewing tobacco may increase your risk of oral cancer, so it’s important to be honest with your dentist about such habits. Your dentist may use different examination techniques if you are part of a high-risk group.

This also presents an opportunity for the dentist to discuss tobacco cessation. Cutting your chances of developing oral cancer is just another motivating factor to give up tobacco in any form.

Oral cancer can have serious consequences, so it’s in your best interest to take steps to prevent this condition or limit its effects on you when it does occur. Talk to your dentist about oral cancer prevention and detection.