Find out why you should be visiting your dentist twice a year.
When you come in for your routine teeth cleaning you may think that our Rocky Mount and Roanoke, VA, dentists, Dr. Young Park and Dr. Michelle Kim, are just trying to give you a cleaner, brighter smile. While this is true this isn’t the only reason you come into our office. Even though you might not notice it we also perform an oral cancer screening to check for warning signs as soon as possible.
As you may already be able to imagine, the sooner we are able to detect early signs of cancer the better. Oral cancer is on the rise and unfortunately, most people don’t often notice symptoms until the cancer has progressed. By coming in twice a year for preventive dental care our Rocky Mount and Roanoke general dentists can help you maintain good oral and general health or provide you with the care you need immediately when issues arise.
What goes into an oral cancer screening?
Oral cancer screenings are quite simple, are completely painless and only take a couple of minutes. As we mentioned, we perform these screenings during your routine exams but perhaps you never noticed that we were doing anything at all. All we have to do is check the soft tissue of the tongue, cheeks and throat to look for lumps, growth or other changes that could be early symptoms of oral cancer. If we do find something suspicious we will have the growth or lump biopsied, which means that we will take a small sample of the tissue for a medical lab to analyze.
Who should be screened?
Since oral cancer can happen to anyone it’s important that everyone comes in for screenings, regardless of whether you’ve been free of cavities all of your life or always received a clean bill of health from us. Of course, there are certain risk factors that you need to be aware of that increase your chances of developing oral cancer during your lifetime. These risk factors include:
- Tobacco use
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Being diagnosed with human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Being male (men are more likely than women to develop oral cancer)
- Age (most adults who’ve been diagnosed with oral cancer are over 55 years old)
- Taking immunosuppressants or having a weak immune system
- Being diagnosed with certain genetic disorders (e.g. dyskeratosis congenital)
Park Dental Solutions offers two convenient locations in Roanoke and Rocky Mount, VA, to serve you better. Whether you want to find out more about the dental services we offer or you need to schedule your six-month cleaning, turn to the our dental team for the care you deserve.