Early Detection Is Key
Oral Cancer Screenings in Edmonton
Did You Know?
You already know when you see your dentist routinely for check ups and cleanings they are checking for cavities and gum disease. But, did you know that your dentist can also be your first line of defense against something potentially more serious, such as oral cancer? During an exam, your hygienist and dentist are watching for early signs of any oral health issues and can often spot and recommend treatment for them before you have felt or noticed changes. Scheduling regular dental checkups allows you and your dentist to stay ahead of changes in your oral health and screen for early signs of oral cancer.
Twice a year dental check ups, or more frequently if issues arise, make it possible to have your teeth cleaned professionally and examined by your dentist for early signs of tooth decay and gum issues. Increasingly, many dentists also use these routine visits to check for early signs of oral cancer.
WHAT IS ORAL CANCER?
Oral cancer includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheek, hard and soft palate, and throat. If not detected and treated early, it can become life-threatening. When screening for oral cancer, your dentist is looking for abnormal growths or sores in or around your mouth.
You play an important role in the early detection of oral cancer as well by screening at home during your daily oral hygiene practice.
Before your exam, the dental hygienist will ask questions to update your medical history since your last visit and discuss risk factors for oral cancer. It is important to share any changes in your overall health, such as a new diagnosis or medication, at each visit.
Individuals who have a history of smoking or alcohol abuse may be at a higher risk of oral cancer. Don’t hesitate to share any current dental concerns or questions you may have. During an in-office cancer screening, the dentist will examine the areas inside and outside of your mouth.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Common signs and symptoms of oral cancer may include:
- Lumps or bumps on the lips, gums or other areas inside the mouth
- White, red, or off-colored patches in the mouth
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
- Unexplained numbness, pain or tenderness in any area of the face, mouth or neck
- Sores on the face, neck or mouth that persist and will not heal
- Sudden difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the tongue
- Persistent sore throat, hoarseness or voice changes
- Persistent ear pain
DON'T HESITATE TO SEE YOUR DENTIST
If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, or if something changes in or around your mouth, don’t wait for your next check up to investigate, see us right away. Early detection is key to preventing and successfully treating most dental and health issues. All dental services provided by a general dentist.
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