Imagine a simple and painless procedure that could potentially save your life. This is the promise of oral cancer screenings. Often overlooked, these screenings play a crucial role in detecting oral cancer in its early stages, offering patients a better chance of successful treatment and improved quality of life. At WestSide Dental Studio, our Reno, NV dentist, Dr. Chelsea Dean encourages her patients to receive regular oral cancer screenings for early detection.
Oral cancer screenings are preventive examinations carried out by dental professionals to detect early signs of oral cancer. Oral cancer includes cancers that develop in the mouth, throat, tongue, tonsils, and lips. The objective of these screenings is to identify potential abnormalities, such as lesions, sores, or discolored patches, that might indicate the presence of cancerous or precancerous cells. Early detection significantly enhances the chances of successful treatment and improved outcomes.
Everyone is a potential candidate for oral cancer screenings. While certain factors, such as tobacco and alcohol use, history of oral cancer, and a family history of cancer, might increase your risk, oral cancer can affect anyone, regardless of age or lifestyle. Dr. Dean recommends that individuals of all ages undergo regular screenings, ideally as part of their routine dental checkups at WestSide Dental Studio.
You should aim to get an oral cancer screening at least once a year. Regular screenings are recommended by dental professionals, especially if you have risk factors such as tobacco or alcohol use. By undergoing annual screenings, you increase the likelihood of detecting any potential abnormalities in their early stages, which can lead to better outcomes if treatment is required.
No, there is typically very little to no discomfort during an oral cancer screening. The procedure is painless and non-invasive. The dental professional will visually examine the inside of your mouth and may use their gloved hands to feel for any unusual lumps or masses in your mouth and neck. This process is designed to be gentle and quick, causing minimal discomfort, if any. If you have any concerns about discomfort or the procedure itself, don't hesitate to discuss them with your dentist beforehand.
If an abnormality is found during an oral cancer screening, further diagnostic steps will likely be taken to determine the nature of the abnormal tissue. The dental professional will recommend additional tests to provide a more accurate assessment. One common next step is a biopsy, where a small sample of the abnormal tissue is removed and sent to a laboratory for analysis.
While it's not always possible to completely prevent oral cancer, there are several steps you can take to significantly reduce your risk. Here are some recommendations:
Remember, even though prevention strategies can help, regular check-ups and a healthy lifestyle are key for reducing your oral cancer risk.
Oral cancer screenings are a crucial part of maintaining your oral health and overall well-being. By detecting potential issues early, these screenings offer a valuable opportunity for successful treatment and improved outcomes. Regardless of your age or risk factors, consider making oral cancer screenings a routine part of your regular dental checkups. Remember, taking proactive steps today can safeguard your health in the long run. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Dean today by giving our Reno, NV dental practice a call at(775) 686-6029.
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