Besides brushing and flossing, you know you are supposed to visit your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup, but you feel the appointments are not necessary. Why waste money when you do not have any issues that need to be treated? Although it may seem like you are saving money, you are increasing your dental expenses. Routine cleanings reduce your risk of preventable issues from developing, like gum disease. Semi-annual checkups detect common problems while they are still small to prevent the need a costly treatment; however, there is another reason to schedule a visit. Routine appointments are crucial for detecting oral cancer.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Next to tooth decay and gum disease, oral cancer is the biggest threat to your oral health. It is classified as those that affect the head and neck, but brain cancer is in a different category. It is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer in the world. Although it is common, the average person does not know much about it. In fact, many people do not know the warning signs or that they need an oral cancer screening. Often, the cancer is not found until it has reached advanced stages or spread to other areas of the body. As a result, the 5-year survival rate is only a little over 50%.
It is estimated dentists can detect as much as 80% of new oral cancer cases early through routine screenings. You can benefit from the power of early detection by visiting your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup.
Warning Signs of Oral Cancer
In addition to a cleaning and checkup, your dentist looks for any concerning areas in your mouth that can indicate cancerous or precancerous cells, such as:
- Lumps or bumps in or near your mouth.
- Sores that will not heal after two weeks in the mouth or on the lips.
- Red or white spots or patches in the mouth or in the tongue.
- Sore throat or hoarseness that will not go away.
- Changes to the alignment of your teeth or bite.
- Difficulty moving your tongue or jaw.
- Tingling or numbness of the tongue.
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, or speaking.
- Feeling like something is caught in the throat.
If your dentist finds an area of concern, a biopsy is taken to be tested by a lab. They will inform you of the results and if any follow-up treatment is needed.
Benefit from Early detection
Now, it is more important than ever to visit your dentist twice a year for a preventive appointment. Discover the benefits of a routine cleaning, checkup, and oral cancer screening.
About Bethel Dental
Bethel Dental is committed to helping patients reach optimal health and well-being. With a focus on prevention, we strive to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Besides cleanings and checkups, we offer several additional preventive services, including oral cancer screenings. If it has been over 6 months since your last visit, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.