Are You Due for an Oral Cancer Screening? By fairfaxfamilydentalcare on August 02, 2023

oral cancer screeningRoutine dental exams and cleanings are essential to preserving good oral health and minimizing the risk of dental complications. Many do not realize that a routine dental exam can also be a vital diagnostic tool. Routine dental exams include an oral cancer screening. An oral cancer screening allows for early detection and treatment of oral cancer, which can prove life-saving.

Despite the benefits of routine oral cancer screenings, it is not uncommon for people to neglect this exam. If you are wondering if you are due for an oral cancer screening, dentists at Fairfax Family Dental Care in Fairfax, VA, can determine if it’s time for you to schedule an appointment.

Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings

Oral cancer screenings are beneficial to everyone, whether they are at high-risk for cancer or not. An oral cancer screening is a simple procedure that is performed during a routine dental exam. The dentist visually examines the inside of the mouth to check for any unusual sores or patches. 

Using gloved hands the dentist also checks oral tissues for lumps or irregularities. Oral cancer screenings allow for early diagnosis, which significantly increases the chance of successful treatment and survival.

When Was Your Last Oral Cancer Screening?

Individuals wondering if they are due for an oral cancer screening should first ask themselves when they last had one. Ideally, patients should receive an oral cancer screening at least once a year. Since dental exams and cleanings are recommended biannually, patients who are up-to-date on their dental checkups should have had a screening within the past six months. If your dentist does not perform oral cancer screenings or if you have not been to a dentist within the past year, it is time to schedule a dental exam, cleaning, and oral cancer screening.

Am I at High-risk for Oral Cancer?

Everyone can benefit from an oral cancer screening. However, these exams are essential for those at high risk of oral cancer. Conditions and practices that increase the risk of oral cancer include:

  • Tobacco use (smoking and chewing tobacco)
  • Regular consumption of alcohol
  • Frequent and prolonged exposure to the sun
  • Previous oral cancer diagnosis

Anyone with an increased risk of oral cancer should schedule a screening if they have not received one in the previous six months.

Are You Experiencing Oral Cancer Symptoms? 

Oral cancer does not always produce noticeable symptoms. When symptoms develop, they may be in areas of the mouth not easily visible, which is why oral cancer screenings are vital. If symptoms are present, it is especially important to schedule a screening. Potential oral cancer symptoms include:

  • Lip or mouth sores that don’t heal
  • White or red patches in the mouth
  • Growth or lump inside the mouth
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Loose teeth

Contact Us Today

We strongly encourage biannual dental exams and cleanings, which ensure patients receive regular oral cancer screenings. If you are past due for a dental exam, cannot recall the last time you had an oral cancer screening, or are experiencing potential oral cancer symptoms, contact us today to schedule an appointment at Fairfax Family Dental Care.

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The Fairfax Family Dental Care office building.

Fairfax Family Dental Care

Our team of compassionate dental professionals uses state-of-the-art technology for every procedure we offer. As the premier emergency dentists in Fairfax, we are here to offer relief at any time of day or night, seven days a week. Our dentists are affiliated with professional associations including:

  • American Dental Association
  • American Academy of Implant Dentistry
  • The American Orthodontic Society
  • Virginia Dental Association

To schedule an appointment or receive immediate dental care, call: (703) 385-0303 or contact us online.

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