Why Oral Cancer Screening Matters
Most people understand the importance of visiting a dentist at least once a year for ensuring excellent oral health. However, not everyone realizes that their dentist plays a crucial role in the early detection of oral cancer. At Fairfax Family Dental Care in Fairfax, VA, Dr. Charles D. Kirksey, Dr. Milan Simanek, and Dr. Touraj Kamali have been providing oral cancer screenings to people of all ages for over three decades.
What is Oral Cancer Screening?
During an oral cancer screening, your doctor examines the inside of your mouth to identify any signs of cancer or precancerous conditions. It is the first line of defense against a potentially fatal disease. The sooner cancer is detected, the better your chances are of fighting it off.
At Fairfax Family Dental Care, we perform a comprehensive examination of our patients’ mouth and oral health during routine dental checkups to look for signs of oral cancer. In case of any abnormality in the mouth, our dentists can conduct a biopsy and have it sent to a qualified off-site laboratory to determine if the tissue is cancerous.
Certain patients may be more likely to develop oral cancer than others. You may need to make time for a screening if you:
- Regularly consume alcohol
- Use tobacco
- Chew betel quid
- Are exposed to the sun for extended periods of time regularly
- Have been diagnosed with oral cancer in the past
It is recommended that you schedule dental cleanings and oral cancer screenings on a regular basis.
Not all lumps or unusual spots are signs of cancer...But, in order to be certain, it is a good idea to get a checkup by a dental professional.
What Happens during an Oral Cancer Screening?
During your oral cancer screening, your dentist will first visually examine the inside of your mouth to check for any unusual patches or sores. Using gloves, they will also check the tissues within your mouth to check for any irregularities or lumps that might not be obvious upon first sight. We may also use a light to identify if any abnormal white patches are present in the mouth.
If our dentists detect possible precancerous lesions or any other signs of mouth cancer, they will take a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. If you are diagnosed with oral cancer, we can help you determine the next step to take.
The Benefits of Oral Cancer Screening
Even the words “oral cancer screening” can be intimidating for many people. The fear of a positive result can drive people to avoid it completely. However, an oral cancer screening offers more benefits than not, including:
- Increased Chances of Survival: In many cases, oral cancer is diagnosed in later, more dangerous stages. However, if it is detected early on, you can dramatically improve your chances for a successful treatment.
- Simplicity: The screening itself is easy and does not take up much time. In fact, our dentists can perform an oral cancer screening during routine dental cleaning and examination.
- Affordability: If oral cancer screening is done during a routine dental cleaning and exam session, there are no additional costs.
Get Your Oral Cancer Screening
Not all lumps or unusual spots are signs of cancer. If you notice a change in your mouth, it is usually perfectly safe. But, in order to be certain, it is a good idea to get a checkup by a dental professional. You can easily schedule an appointment with us by contacting Fairfax Dental online or calling at (703) 423-0899 for an oral cancer screening session.