Did you know that your dentist can perform oral cancer screenings during routine dental visits? In addition to examining your teeth and gums, experienced dentists like Dr. David also examine patients’ mouths for signs of oral cancer. To learn more or to schedule your next routine cleaning, dental exam, and oral cancer screening, please contact our front office so we can find a convenient time for you to visit our office.

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Who is at risk for developing oral cancer?

Patients who are 50 or older are more likely to develop oral cancer, and men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer than women. Heavy tobacco use, drinking alcohol, and sun exposure can all increase a patients’ risk for receiving an oral cancer diagnosis. Oral cancer is also genetic, so patients who have a family history of oral cancer are more likely to develop it themselves. Oral cancer is not preventable, but it is highly curable when it is diagnosed early, which is why we recommend patients get screened for oral cancer regularly.

What are the signs and symptoms of oral cancer?

Patients may not have any noticeable symptoms that indicate that oral cancer is present, which is why oral cancer screenings are so important. Some common symptoms that patients may notice include:

  • Mouth sores that won’t heal
  • White or red patch inside mouth
  • Lump or growth inside mouth
  • Mouth or ear pain
  • Painful or difficulty swallowing
  • Enlarged neck lymph nodes

How often should I receive an oral cancer screening?

During your regular dental appointments, your dentist is checking your teeth and gums for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and other issues, but they are also checking for signs of oral cancer. This is one of the many reasons why it is recommended that patients schedule dental visits twice per year, even if they take very good care of their teeth and gums at home. If you have a history of oral cancer in your family or you are at an increased risk of developing oral cancer, let our team know, and we can perform screenings during your biannual dental visits.