How Often Should You See Your Dentist for an Oral Cancer Screening?

  • Jun 15 2023

Oral cancer is an incredibly serious condition, but you can achieve the best outcomes through early detection. You should visit your dentist for oral cancer screening to identify signs of the disease as early as possible. However, you may not know how often you should see the dentist for oral cancer screening.

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer encompasses cancers that affect any part of the mouth, including:

  • Tongue
  • Lips
  • Gums
  • Cheek lining
  • Roof of the mouth
  • Floor of the mouth

Like other cancers, oral cancer can arise from a wide range of causes and risk factors. Tobacco use is among the most prominent risk factors, along with heavy alcohol use. A weakened immune system also puts individuals at a higher risk of oral cancer.

Oral cancer can cause a wide range of symptoms. A sore on the lips or inside the mouth that doesn’t heal, discolored patches inside the mouth, and loose teeth are all common signs of oral cancer.

If your dentist notices any signs during your screening, they will likely take a small amount of tissue for biopsy testing to check for oral cancer. If cancer cells are present, you may need surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or other interventions depending on the stage and extent of the cancer.

Visit Your Dentist Every Six Months

Your dentist will perform a comprehensive oral cancer screening during each of your routine visits. In general, it’s recommended that you come in for a routine exam and teeth cleaning every six months unless you have specific instructions to come in more frequently.

During your examination, your dentist will look for signs, including irregular bumps, colored patches, and swelling. They will assess different areas of your mouth and look for any irregularities that could indicate oral cancer or other oral health issues. If anything is out of the ordinary, they can order additional testing.

Your dentist can also use a variety of modern imaging tools to locate cysts and tumors, along with any other dental issues. Having an examination every six months increases the chance of identifying oral cancer at a stage when it is still highly treatable.

Other Benefits of Routine Dental Visits

Oral cancer screening is just one part of your routine visit. Coming in every six months for an appointment also provides a wide range of other benefits. First, your examination will also identify issues such as tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease that can affect your oral health.

The teeth cleaning that you receive during your visit also helps protect your oral health. Removing plaque and tartar inhibits tooth decay and gum disease. While a solid oral hygiene routine goes a long way in preventing these issues, you also need professional teeth cleaning every six months.

The Latest Dental Exam Technology

Today, patients benefit from a variety of new and improved dental technologies that let dentists deliver better diagnoses and treatment planning. Digital X-rays are among the latest such advancements and make your routine visits faster and easier.

Digital X-rays deliver instant results. This means that your dentist can investigate any irregularities then and there. They also provide improved detail, letting your dentist more accurately evaluate your condition and identify any areas of concern.

Take a Proactive Approach to Oral Cancer

Like with any other cancer, the best approach to oral cancer is early detection. You can visit Payam Cohen, D.D.S., P.C., for your routine dental exams in Queens, NY, and benefit from the latest dental technology in oral cancer detection. Schedule your next visit today.

Categories: Dental Health