Oral Cancer Screenings

Hyattsville Dental Care

General Dentist located in Hyattsville, MD

More than 54,000 people in the United States receive oral cancer diagnoses each year, the Oral Cancer Foundation reports. To reduce that ever-growing number, George Harding, DDS, and the team provide comprehensive oral cancer screenings at Hyattsville Dental Care in Hyattsville, Maryland. Regular oral cancer screenings can help reduce your risk of complications. To learn more, call Hyattsville Dental Care or book an appointment online.

Oral Cancer Screenings Q & A

What are oral cancer screenings?

An oral cancer screening is an exam your dentist at Hyattsville Dental Care performs to evaluate the soft tissues of your mouth. 

Abnormal tissues and growths don’t always indicate oral cancer, but only a comprehensive screening can properly identify these lesions. If your dentist does find an abnormality, they can biopsy the lesion and send it to a lab for testing.

Why are oral cancer screenings important?

Oral cancer is difficult to treat once it spreads to other areas of your body. With early detection through regular screenings, oral cancer may be treatable. Removing the lesion before the cancer cells spread helps eliminate the disease at the source. 

What happens during oral cancer screenings?

An oral cancer screening is typically part of your regular teeth cleaning and dental exam. Your dentist starts by examining your jaw, face, and lips. Their goal is to check for abnormal facial swelling and lip sores. 

Next, the team evaluates your gums and other soft tissues to identify irregular growths, sores, or rough patches. They also examine the tissue in the back of your throat.

If your dentist does discover an abnormal lesion, they may use a local anesthetic to numb your mouth before removing a small portion of the tissue. Then they send the sample to a lab. Depending on your results, you may need additional testing for a proper diagnosis.

Does everyone need oral cancer screenings?

While most adults can benefit from regular oral cancer screenings, certain factors can increase your risk of the disease. Your dentist at Hyattsville Dental Care may recommend visiting for more frequent oral cancer screenings if you:

  • Use tobacco (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, etc.)
  • Drink alcohol heavily
  • Have a family history of oral cancer
  • Have previously received treatment for oral cancer
  • Frequently spend time in the sun

All adults over the age of 20 should visit for oral cancer screenings at least once every three years, while individuals over the age of 40 should come in annually. Your dentist may recommend more frequent visits if you have any of the above risk factors.

To learn more about oral cancer screenings, call Hyattsville Dental Care or schedule an appointment online today.