More and more dentists now incorporate routine exams inside the oral cavity and the outside of head and neck into their hygiene appointments to screen for a host of oral diseases, including gum disease and oral cancer. Unfortunately, not all early signs of disease can be seen by the naked eye. At our practice we do much more. Advances in technology have made it possible for dentists to offer non-invasive screening tests to help identify patients that are at higer risk for developing head and neck cancers and gum disease and to detect these diseases at an early stage. At our office we utilize 3 screening tools, in addition to the examination of the oral cavity and head and neck, to help identify at risk patients that we serve. They include individualized Oral Health Scores, a light based screening tool for the oral cavity, and a saliva test that measures the amount of human papillomavirus in your mouth.
Screening for the early warning signs of oral cancer is one of the most important reasons why you should visit the dentist on a regular basis. More than 34,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. The bottom line for everyone: See your dentist; it may save your life. It is our goal to have 100% of our practice family screened for oral cancer on a yearly basis. It is important to realize that a visit to our office is no longer about a filling, a crown, or “just a cleaning,” but can actually be a matter of life and death. Dental examinations, when properly done and which include a screening for oral cancer will save lives.