April 10, 2019
Oral cancer affects over 50,000 people each year, and the number of cases has been growing for the last 16 years. This problem is unfortunately hard to detect on your own, which makes oral cancer screenings with your dentist in Bridgeville imperative to your oral and overall health. April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, an effort to raise awareness about the importance of oral cancer screenings. Keep reading to learn more about oral cancer and why regular dental checkups are vital.
The Importance of Catching Oral Cancer
Fortunately, oral cancer has an incredibly high recovery rate if it’s caught in its earlier stages. That’s why your dentist has incorporated oral cancer screenings into their routine checkups. These screenings detect any signs of cancer while they are still small, giving you the best chance at a 100% recovery after your diagnosis. Dentists alone catch 84% of oral cancers early on, making them experts at recognizing the symptoms. If they do find something that looks like cancer, they may order a biopsy for further investigation.
The Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Symptoms of oral cancer are often hard to detect on your own, which is why oral cancer screenings are vital. Your dentist uses VELscope, an advanced instrument that can find warning signs that the human eye simply can’t see. However, contact your dentist if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Sores that bleed easily or don’t heal
- Trouble swallowing
- Red or white patches in your mouth
- Difficulty moving your tongue or jaw
- Pain in your mouth
- Pain in one of your ears
- Persistent hoarseness of your voice
- Lumps around your mouth or jaw
What Occurs During My Oral Cancer Screening?
Your oral cancer screening only lasts a few minutes, but it has the potential to save your life. It consists of two parts: a visual and physical exam. During the visual exam, your dentist will carefully examine your mouth, cheeks, lips, gums, tongue, throat, jaw, and head for any irregularities. The VELscope helps them thoroughly look around your mouth in a matter of seconds. After, they will physically examine you for any lumps or other symptoms. This swift and noninvasive process checks around the lymph nodes near your jaw for any warning signs.
When is the last time that you were screened for oral cancer? Contact your dentist today to schedule a routine checkup where they will provide you with a quick and easy screening.
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Dan Rairigh understands the importance of detecting oral cancer early, which is why he’s invested in the VELscope technology for his office. He never wants to find cancer, but he takes pride in helping his patients take their first step towards recovery. He currently practices at Advanced Dental Solutions of Pittsburgh, and he can be contacted through his website or by phone at (412) 854-2310 for any questions.
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