Screening for Oral Cancer Isn’t Something Most People Think About
When it comes to regular dental visits, many people think of routine cleanings, X-rays, and cavity fillings. However, there’s another vital aspect of dental care that often goes overlooked — oral cancer screenings. At Ablantis Dental in Encinitas, we understand that oral cancer screening is a crucial part of your overall health and wellbeing.
The Importance of Dental Cancer Screenings
Certain individuals are at a higher risk of developing oral cancer than others. Some known risk factors include things tobacco and alcohol use, excessive sun exposure, a family history of cancer, and the presence of the human papillomavirus (HPV). Dr. Claudia Cortadi is well aware of these risk factors and can assess your personal risk profile, making it even more important to receive regular oral cancer screenings. That being said, it’s not unheard of for healthy individuals to also receive an oral cancer diagnosis, which is why Dr. Cortadi screens for it at every dental checkup.
If detected early, oral cancer has a much higher chance of successful treatment and a better prognosis. By offering regular oral cancer screenings, Dr. Cortadi can identify any precancerous or suspicious areas in your mouth that could potentially indicate the presence of cancerous or abnormal cells. Early detection can be lifesaving, because it allows cancers to be treated as early as possible, before they spread.
What is Involved in an Oral Cancer Check?
An oral cancer screening is a painless and non-invasive procedure that can be conducted during your routine dental examination. Here’s what you can expect:
Visual Examination: Our Encinitas dentist will start by visually inspecting your entire mouth, including your lips, gums, tongue, inner cheeks, roof, and floor of the mouth. She will look for any abnormalities such as red or white patches, sores, or lumps.
Physical Examination: Dr. Cortadi will gently feel the tissues in your mouth and outside of your throat to check for any irregularities or swelling. They will also examine your neck and jaw area to detect any enlarged lymph nodes.
Additional Diagnostic Aids:
In some cases, Dr. Cortadi may utilize additional diagnostic tools such as specialized devices that help identify any suspicious areas that you might not be able to see with the naked eye. These tools can enhance the accuracy of the screening process.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
Being aware of the signs and symptoms of oral cancer can help you detect any abnormalities early. While not all symptoms are necessarily indicative of cancer, it’s crucial to report any persistent changes to Dr. Cortadi. Common signs and symptoms of oral cancer include:
● Persistent mouth sores or ulcers that don’t heal within two weeks.
● Red or white patches in your mouth.
● Unexplained bleeding.
● Difficulty or pain when swallowing.
● Chronic sore throat or hoarseness.
● A lump or thickening in your cheek or neck.
● Numbness or pain in your mouth or lips.
● Changes in your voice.
Prevention, Detection, and Treatment of Oral Cancer:
Preventing oral cancer involves adopting a healthy lifestyle and minimizing risk factors. Here are some proactive steps you can take:
1. Avoid Tobacco and Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Tobacco use, whether smoking or chewing, significantly increases the risk of oral cancer. Additionally, limiting alcohol consumption can help reduce the chances of developing this disease.
2. Protect Yourself from the Sun
Excessive exposure to the sun can increase the risk of lip cancer. Use lip balm with SPF, wear wide-brimmed hats, and seek shade whenever possible to protect your lips from harmful UV radiation.
3. Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Maintaining good oral hygiene is vital in preventing various oral health issues, including oral cancer. Regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash can help keep your mouth healthy.
Remember, early detection is crucial for successful treatment. If oral cancer is suspected, Dr. Cortadi will refer you to a specialist for further evaluation and treatment.
Schedule Your Consultation
Your oral health is a top priority, and regular dental visits are essential for maintaining a healthy smile. Make sure to schedule your consultation at Ablantis Dental in Encinitas, to take advantage of our comprehensive services, such as routine oral cancer screenings.