Why You Need an Oral Cancer Screening with Your Dentist in Arlington

April 17, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — smilesforlifeteam @ 8:53 pm
open mouth mirror

April—it’s a time of renewal with spring showers, blooming flowers, and warmer weather. But did you know that April is also Oral Cancer Awareness Month? It may not be something you want to think about, but oral cancer is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition. The good news is that your dentist in Arlington offers oral cancer screenings as part of your routine preventive dental care. In this post, you can learn more about this type of cancer and how your dentist can help you!

Statistics on Oral Cancer

Although not as commonly talked about as breast or prostate cancer, oral cancer is generally more deadly than many other types. In fact, one person dies every hour of every day from oral cancer. In 2019, 53,000 people are expected to be newly diagnosed with oral cancer, and out of these, only a little more half will likely survive to the five-year mark.

Signs of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer has several distinct signs, including the following:

  • Red, white, or speckled patches.
  • Patches of thickened tissue.
  • Lumps or bumps in the gums, tissue, or jaw.
  • Sores that won’t heal after two weeks.

If you experience these symptoms, contact your dentist or doctor right away for testing.

Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings

The primary reason behind the high mortality rate of oral cancer is not that it is difficult to diagnose—it’s that oral cancer is often found during the later stages of development, when treatment offers too little help too late. Regular oral cancer screenings help ensure that oral cancer can be caught early enough and treated more effectively. In fact, early detection can increase your odds of successfully overcoming it. For those whose cancer is found early, the survival rate is up to 90 percent. This small step of getting a regular oral cancer screening can mean the difference between having a few more years and entire lifetime.

Oral Cancer Screening Process

Compared to mammograms or other cancer tests, an oral cancer screening is quick, painless, and non-invasive. First, your dentist in Arlington asks you about any changes to your medical history or any unusual symptoms you’ve experienced. They visually examine your gums, soft and hard tissues in your mouth, and tongue for any of the early signs. To get a clearer view of the back of your mouth, where oral cancer frequently manifests, they may use gauze to hold and move your tongue. Then, they gently feel around your jaw and neck for any suspicious lumps or bumps. If they find anything, they will refer you to your doctor for additional testing.

In the end, a short oral cancer screening on a semiannual basis is worth the little time it takes. By attending your regular dental checkup and cleaning appointment, you take an important step toward lifelong health. In fact, it could save your life! Schedule your visit with your dentist today and get this necessary screening.

About the Author

Dr. James T. Gray has been practicing dentistry for 30 years. He actively participates in many dental professional associations and study clubs, such as the Fort Worth District Dental Society, Texas Dental Association, Arlington Dental Study Club, and more, to keep his skills and knowledge at the forefront of the dental field. To schedule an appointment with him, you may call (817) 460-4131 or click here.