Oral cancer is not a topic that most patients like to think about, but catching oral cancer in its early stages makes a huge difference when it comes to treatment. Oral cancer screenings are one of the many reasons why we suggest patients visit our office at least twice per year for a routine dental exam. To learn more about oral cancer screenings or schedule your next appointment with our team, please contact us!
What are the signs of oral cancer?
There are a few signs that can indicate that oral cancer is present. If you have one or more of the following symptoms and you are concerned, please contact our office.
- Mouth sores that don’t heal
- Unusual lump in or around mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- Red or white patches in mouth
- Painful or difficulty swallowing
- Enlarged lymph nodes
What does an oral cancer screening consist of?
During routine dental visits, our team examines the patient’s teeth, gums, and the inside of their mouth for signs of tooth decay, dental trauma, gum disease, and a variety of other potential issues. It’s during this time that your dentist will also be looking for signs of oral cancer, which is why it is important to visit our office at least biannually. If you have a history of oral cancer in your family or you are at a higher risk of developing it, please let our team know so we can be sure to conduct extra thorough oral cancer screenings for you.
Who is at risk of developing oral cancer?
While anyone can develop oral cancer, there are a few factors that make it more likely that a patient will receive an oral cancer diagnosis at some point in their life. Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer than women, and patients over 50 are more likely to develop oral cancer than younger patients. Regular tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and too much sun exposure can increase a patient’s risk of an oral cancer diagnosis. While there’s no way to prevent it, diagnosing and treating it as soon as possible usually has a very high success rate for most patients.
Are oral cancer screenings necessary?
Oral cancer is a serious condition that can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated in its early stages. With early intervention, however, oral cancer is highly curable. Regular screenings help identify any suspicious lesions or abnormalities in or on the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat, allowing for timely intervention and improved prognosis. Early detection increases the chances of successful treatment and reduces the risk of potential complications.
Are oral cancer screenings covered by insurance?
Insurance coverage for oral cancer screenings may vary depending on the specific insurance plan and provider. However, many insurance plans do cover oral cancer screenings as part of routine preventive care. Our team can work with you to determine the most appropriate financing option for your situation to ensure that you receive the preventive services that you need to maintain optimal oral and overall health.
How often should you be screened for oral cancer?
Generally, it is recommended that adults undergo a comprehensive oral cancer screening at least once a year. However, individuals with higher risk factors such as a history of tobacco or alcohol use, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, or a family history of oral cancer may require more frequent screenings. Our team can review your medical history and lifestyle to determine how often you should be scheduling oral cancer screenings.