Dentist in Richardson Says Get an Oral Cancer Screening!

April 30, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — drmcdougal @ 8:31 am

It’s April, which means your dentist in Richardson is honoring national Oral Cancer Awareness month. Each year, we take this moment to remind our patients of the need for regular oral cancer screenings. Awareness of oral cancer remains low even as the disease is on the rise — it’s estimated that one person dies from oral cancer each hour in the United States. We’re working to improve outcomes following oral cancer diagnoses in North Texas, and it all starts with regular screenings! Don’t forget to ask for an examination alongside your routine checkup and cleaning. There’s never been a better time than during Oral Cancer Awareness month!

Who Needs an Oral Cancer Screening?

Adults of all ages should get an oral cancer screening every year. While oral cancer has historically been linked to older age and heavy tobacco or alcohol use, the disease is affecting younger, healthier patients than ever before with the spread of the human papillomavirus (HPV). Anyone can get oral cancer, but men are slightly more likely to have oral cancer than women.   

What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening?

The oral cancer screening does not require anything special on your part. Just show up for your checkup and cleaning and your dentist will perform the screening at the end of the appointment. It is a painless examination begins with a conversation as we look over your face and inside your mouth. You will need to remove your dentures or prosthetic teeth if you have them.

Some of the questions your dentist will ask you include…

  • Have you experienced a change in the tone of your voice, or a persistent sore throat?
  • Does your face seem less symmetrical than it used to?
  • Have you had any trouble or weird sensations while swallowing?
  • Do you have any lesions or sores that have not healed after several days?
  • Do you have any non-painful lumps or bumps on the side of your neck?

After the visual exam and conversation, your dentist will feel your cheeks and neck to see if there are any lumps or bumps you haven’t noticed. You’ll need to stick out your tongue while your dentist gently presses on the floor of your mouth.

If suspicious areas are located during the screening, we can provide advice for your next steps. Lesions should be biopsied immediately. For less worrisome areas, we may just suggest you return to our office after a week or two to see if the spot has changed.

Warning Signs of Oral Cancer

When your dentist performs the oral cancer screening, he’s looking out for the irregularities that indicate cancer or precancer. Common indications of oral cancer include…

  • Lesions
  • Lumps or bumps
  • Rough or discolored patches
  • Asymmetries
  • Changing tone of voice

It’s Time for an Oral Cancer Screening!

There’s never been a better time to schedule an oral cancer screening than during April, Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Dr. McDougal can provide an oral cancer examination alongside your regular checkup and cleaning. Request an appointment with the family dentist in Richardson today!  

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