The American Dental Association recommends everyone visits their dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup. Besides healthy, beautiful teeth, there is another reason your routine appointments are important. It also allows you to have a screening for mouth cancer in San Antonio. Although you may not think you are at risk, 53,000 Americans will be diagnosed with it this year. At San Pedro Smiles, we can give you the power of early detection through a routine screening during your next preventive visit.
Oral cancer is classified as those that affect the head or neck, with the exclusion of brain cancer. Although it is not widely discussed, oral cancer is responsible for thousands of deaths every year. In fact, approximately 1 person dies every hour from it, and the 5-year survival rate is only 57%.
The low long-term survival rate is attributed to late detection because most patients are not diagnosed until it has metastasized or spread to other areas of the body. Research shows dentists can detect as much as 80% of new oral cancer cases early through routine screenings.
At San Pedro Smiles, we are proud to be a part of the effort to raise awareness about oral cancer and provide the screenings our patients need to detect cancerous and precancerous cells early.
Often, patients believe they are only at risk of oral cancer if they have a history of using tobacco. Although smoking significantly increases your chances for it, anyone can get it. Now, oral cancer is especially common in those who have the human papillomavirus, better known as HPV. Since the condition does not always cause any noticeable symptoms, you may not even be aware you have HPV.
People who drink alcohol in excess or experience a lot of sun exposure are also at a higher risk than the average person.
In between your appointments, it is best to schedule a visit if you notice a change inside or outside of your mouth, such as:
It is best to have an oral cancer screening performed during your semi-annual visits. Besides a cleaning and checkup, your dentist in San Antonio performs a comprehensive examination to look for any signs of a potential issue. If they find an area that is concerning, a biopsy is taken and sent to the lab for testing. We will notify you of the results and explain if you need to take any additional steps.
If it has been more than 6 months since your last oral cancer screening, do not wait until it is too late. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.