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How Often Should You Have a General Dentistry Visit for Oral Cancer Screening?
Most people know that a general dentistry visit for oral screening is important. However, they may probably have no idea of how often to visit the dentist for oral cancer screening. Oral cancer screening reduces the risks of delayed diagnosis and potentially fatal outcomes. Continue reading to know how often to go to the general dentist for oral cancer screening.
Frequency of oral cancer screenings
Many dental professionals have dissenting opinions on how frequently patients should be screened for oral cancer. The opinions may vary, but the conventional suggestion is undergoing an oral cancer screening every year. Also, patients can get the screening at every routine visit to the dentist. Early detection of cancer gives the patient a better shot at fighting it successfully.
Although it is reasonable to undergo an oral cancer screen at least once every year, the time difference between each screening varies for each person depending on certain risk factors. Individuals who are at higher risk of the condition will need to undergo screening more frequently.
Examples of the risk factors include HPV exposure, sun exposure, diet, tobacco or alcohol use, family history, gender and age. This list is not exhaustive. It is better to undergo oral screening even when the risk factors are not present to be completely sure. There is no harm in that. The real danger of oral cancer is that the symptoms are not always immediately apparent and can be hard to detect when they start.
A fast and easy check
The process of screening for oral cancer is quicker and more straightforward than most people think. The dentist starts the screening by giving the patient a special fluid to swish in their mouth. The dentist then examines the oral cavity with a flashlight. The dentist might feel the mouth or throat for physical abnormalities. The results of the test come quickly. Patients have no reason to be scared of the screening process.
Patients have nothing to lose and everything to gain by having a general dentistry visit for the test at least every year. If the dentist can catch cancer in its early stages, there is a good chance of remission.
Screeing is important for everyone
Everyone should inspect their oral cavity visually for oral cancer when at home, but it should not replace the oral cancer screening done by a dental professional. The home oral exam can be the routine for everyone, especially after brushing and flossing. Since oral cancer often starts on the tongue or lower part of the oral cavity, patients should pay more attention to those areas.
If you have not undergone oral cancer screening in over a year, it is time to make a general dentistry visit for the process. As mentioned earlier, the earlier the cancer is detected, the earlier it can be treated, and the better the chance of successful treatment and remission. If you are ready for the procedure, book an appointment with a dentist right away.
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