Smiles for Life Family Dentistry

Oral Cancer Screenings

Oral cancer is common, hard to detect, and has an extremely high mortality rate. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, Oropharyngeal cancer has a five-year survival rate of only 57%. Compare that to percentages upwards of 90 for other types of cancers, such as breast or testicular, and oral cancer becomes a very serious matter.

Why Is Oral Cancer so serious?

In the early stages of oral cancer, there are often very few detectable symptoms. The vast majority of Americans neglect to have regular oral cancer screenings. Often, the disease goes unnoticed until it reaches Stage III or Stage IV, which dramatically reduces the survival rate.

That’s why it’s so important to have regular screenings for oral cancer by Dr. Quinn or Dr. Mitchell at Smiles for Life Family Dentistry. Regular oral cancer screenings can help detect this cancer before it metastasizes, providing better patient outcomes and a higher survival rate.

The Oral Cancer Screening Process

Oral cancer screenings at Smiles for Life don’t require a special appointment, and they can usually be conducted during routine teeth cleanings. During the screening, Dr. Quinn or Dr. Mitchell will examine your mouth for:

  • Sores and irritated tissue
  • Discolored patches of tissue
  • Lumps and other abnormalities
  • Abnormalities in symmetry, texture, or appearance

You will also be asked if you’ve felt symptoms like a sore throat, a “lump” in your throat, oral numbness, hoarseness, and how long these symptoms have affected you. The entire process is non-invasive, and it usually takes less than five minutes.

Who Should Be Screened?

Anyone over the age of 40 should get routine oral cancer screenings. However, even patients under the age of 40 should be examined if they partake to known oral cancer risk factors, such as:

  • Tobacco use (including pipes, cigars, cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and chewing tobacco)
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Poor overall levels of oral hygiene
  • Increased sun exposure
  • A weakened immune system
  • HPV (Human Papillomavirus) infection

Tobacco use, in particular, is the single largest risk factor. Around 85% of head and neck cancers can be traced to tobacco use.

How Often Do I Need to Be Screened?

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that oral cancer screenings are conducted at least once a year during routine dental examinations. Regular, consistent oral cancer screenings can help your dentist identify oral cancer in its early stages.

For those who conform to known risk factors, such as those outlined above, more regular examinations may be required. Lifestyle changes, such as discontinuing tobacco and alcohol use, will usually be recommended to decrease oral cancer risk.

Come in Today for Professional Oral Cancer Screenings in Las Vegas

If you’re in need of a regular six-month checkup or require an oral cancer screening in Summerlin or Spring Valley, Smiles for Life can help.

At our facility, Dr. John Quinn and Dr. Mitchell can screen you for signs of oral cancer and help you understand your risks of developing the disease based on your lifestyle habits and oral care regimen.

By providing experienced, comprehensive examinations, Smiles for Life Family Dentistry can help you minimize your chances of developing oral cancer and catch any potential issues early. Don’t wait. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.