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Oral Cancer Screenings

Woman talking to dentist during dental examOne thing that is usually more feared than a visit to the dentist is cancer. As most people already know, regular dental exams and cleanings are far more beneficial to our health than just our teeth. It's important to go to the dentist to make sure there are no signs of oral cancer present. The normal number of visits to your dentist is twice a year or every six months, but according to other health professionals, if you are more likely to be affected by oral cancer, then you should visit more often.

There are many different factors that play into if you are more likely to obtain oral cancer, but everyone can get it. At Vista Dental Dr. Kim can give you an oral health exam to make sure that not only your mouth is healthy, but the rest of you as well.

What is an Oral Cancer Screening?

Oral cancer screenings are performed on the mouth, teeth, lips, gums, and the inside of the cheeks. The main purpose is to look for cancerous or precancerous spots and to find them early enough that they can be treated and cured. If you have had oral cancer or are more likely to have it, Dr. Kim may perform additional tests to rule out any cancer cells existing. While there is no evidence of oral cancer screenings saving lives, they could benefit us by finding the cancer much faster than expected.

Risk factors that can cause someone to need an oral cancer screening much more often than others are if you use:
•  Chewing tobacco
•  Cigarettes
•  Pipes
•  Snuff
•  Alcohol
•  Have genetic history
•  Get significant sun exposure

Depending on how high at risk you are, your dentists might suggest that you try quitting tobacco products and endure less sun exposure. Dr. Kim can perform an oral cancer screening on you if you are at risk or you fall under any risk factors listed.

The Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings

The obvious benefits, like finding out if you do or do not have cancer, can play a significant role in our lives but there are other benefits. One of these benefits includes catching cancer early. If Dr. Kim finds cancer during an oral cancer screening, then it is a huge possibility, if you get regular screenings, that the cancer was caught early enough to treat and cure. This means that you do not have to go through as much mental, physical, and emotional damage that comes from aggressive cancer treatment.

According to the California Dental Association, more than eight thousand people will die this year from mouth cancer because they either did not get regular screenings or because once the cancer was found, they could not afford treatments. Most people believe that oral cancer is a rare disease, but this statistic proves that wrong. Oral cancer screenings can largely impact our lives and only take a small amount of our time.

For more information or to make an appointment, please contact Vista Dental at (360) 418-9040 to speak with professional staff members on how our oral screening process works.

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