Because 25 percent of the people diagnosed with oral cancer have no risk factors, an oral cancer screening should be a routine part of dental maintenance. Regular check-ups, including an examination of the entire mouth, are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions.Common symptoms of oral cancer or pre-cancerous cells include:
I don’t drink or smoke. Why do I need an oral cancer screening?
Even though certain elements, like lifestyle, age, and heredity, can play a role in your risk for developing oral cancer, people with no known factors can still develop oral cancer. Routine checkups and screenings allow your dentist to catch problems before they escalate.
I noticed a few small sores in my mouth. Should I be worried?
If you notice any unusual spots, sores, discolorations or bumps in your mouth, you should contact your dentist right away. Oral cancer treatment is very successful when the cancer is detected early.
Does an oral cancer screening hurt?
No. During the initial exam, your dentist will look inside your mouth, checking the gums, lips, and other soft tissue for any strange spots or sores. In some cases, the doctor may use special equipment such as VELscope or ViziLite to highlight any areas of concern. If an area looks suspicious, the doctor can perform a brush test, gently scraping cells to be sent off to the lab for further assessment.