Who Knew a Dental Exam Could Save Your Life?

Who Knew a Dental Exam Could Save Your Life?

Posted by Really Smile Sep 10, 2014

We know dental visits are important for a lot of reasons, but did you know that your next dental visit could save your life? When you sit down in our patient chair, we are looking at more than just your teeth. We also complete a screen for oral cancer. Like all forms of cancer, the sooner we know and begin treatment, the higher your rate of survival will be.

When patients think about oral cancer, they often think about this as a risk reserved for users of tobacco. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. The majority of oral cancer patients are men over the age of 50 who have used tobacco, but it is a small majority. A growing number of oral cancer diagnoses are being linked to HPV, a sexually transmitted disease. This trend opens up the demographics of oral cancer to include many more people.

Oral Cancer Checks

When we take a look in your mouth, we are checking for specific things that could be caused by cancerous cells. Lumps, sores, crusty or fuzzy patches, numbness, spots, or tender areas are all signs that cancerous cells could be forming in your mouth. We check your tongue, gums, cheeks, and lips for any sign of oral cancer. If we were to find anything, we would take a tissue sample and have it tested so that you could begin treatment as soon as possible.

Oral cancer survival rates after the first year are about 80%. However, after 10 years, the rate drops to about 45%. It’s important to be checked early and often! Contact us today to set up an appointment for an exam and cleaning. Let us know if you’ve noticed anything unusual in your mouth, and we’ll be sure to check it out!

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