Visiting your dentist on a regular basis does more than protect you from tooth decay and the devastating affects of gum disease, but did you know that serious health complications are often visible in the health and wellness of your teeth and gums? Waiting for obvious reasons to see your dentist (toothache or a broken tooth) is not enough to really protect and preserve your oral health and wellness.
Regular screening for oral cancers amounts to the early detection and treatment of this lesser-know type of cancer. Risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and patients with HPV (human papilloma virus). It is estimated that 75% of oral cancers are caused by tobacco and alcohol use. When diagnosed and treated early, survival raters are significantly higher. In the United States, the 5-year survival rate for patients with tongue cancer is 71% when diagnosed during stage 1 and only 37% when diagnosed beyond.
Your dental check-up will involve a thorough examination of not only your teeth and gums, but also your head and neck. This exam looks for lumps and swollen lymph nodes that might be of concern. Your oral examination will involve an evaluation of the hard and soft tissues inside your mouth. Any unusual bumps, lumps, textures, and colors will be noted. Many oral cancers originate from area’s inside your mouth that are not always seen, for instance underneath your tongue or high on the soft palate of your mouth.
Your visit with Dr. Michael Armijo will include oral cancer screening in addition to our regular dental check-up guidelines. Contact our office to learn more about oral cancer screening and detection or to reserve your appointment with Dr. Armijo.