St. Paul, MN Dentistry Discusses Oral Cancer Screening Importance

Written by Drs. Mark and Rachel Malterud on Aug 28, 2012

Did you know that over 30,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer in America each year? Only 25 percent of patients diagnosed do not have a known risk factor (such as smoking) for oral cancer. As an important part of your routine oral health care, an oral cancer screening by your dentist will help detect the disease at its early stages, possibly saving a life. Early screening and detection of oral cancer may increase the survivability rate by as much as 90 percent.

As part of every routine check-up at our Minneapolis Dentist Office, an oral cancer screening includes a visual inspection of the tissues of your mouth. The purpose of this screening for oral cancer is to visually inspect the tissues of your mouth to look for abnormalities and potentially cancerous or pre-cancerous tissues.

It is important to keep a regular schedule of checkups and cleanings with your dentist because abnormal tissue that may be cancerous may appear to be completely normal to the untrained eye. For instance, what appears to be a normal white spot may be identified by your dental health team as pre-cancerous. There are other early signs of oral cancer that your dentist will look for including red spots, sores, a change in your bite, or a change in the color of the oral tissues.

Oral cancer rates are, unfortunately, increasing among patients with no known risk factors such as heavy drinking, smoking, or family history. This fact makes it more critical than ever to have a screening for oral cancer at least once a year. Contact your St. Paul, MN General Dentist today to schedule your next dental exam and oral cancer screening.