What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is any form of cancer that affects your mouth or the surrounding areas. Oral Cancers generally are detected through early oral cancer screening which gets done through ViziLite Plus Annual Oral Cancer Screening Exams in the early and most treatable stages. These oral cancer screenings become part of your annual dental checkups to ensure that any cancers that come about get detected early. Dentists also examine the neck region of the patient to look for lumps or other unusual signs that may signal that cancer is present.
Who is at Risk?
To minimize the risk of oral cancers going undetected, every single patient over the age of 18 who goes to the dentist should get screened for oral cancers. The sooner that oral cancer gets detected, the better chances the patient has of living. Oral cancer is much more common than most people realize, including more prevalent than both liver and cervical cancer. Oral cancer can happen in younger people, and it can happen to those who least expect it.
Oral cancer is so prevalent that about 40,000 adults will get diagnosed with some level of oral cancer this year. Another key to remember is that you should be tested for oral cancer even if you are not a smoker or do not use tobacco products.
How Can it Be Detected?
Oral cancers can get detected through annual oral cancer screenings such as the ViziLite Plus Annual Oral Cancer Screening Exams that we provide patients with at Rush Creek Dentistry. These scans can even detect cancers that wouldn't get seen if the dentist were to rely on visual, oral examination techniques alone.
These screenings will catch cancer at its earliest stages, which will help increase the odds of survival for the patient who has gotten diagnosed.
What is Involved in the Screening Procedure?
The screening procedure requires an annual screening that is called the ViziLite Plus Annual Oral Cancer Screening Exam. This screening can spot oral cancers, even if it's not visible through oral examinations. Rush Creek Dentistry provides this basic screening to all patients to ensure that cancers get detected in their earliest stages, which means that the likelihood of successful treatment is much higher than if we were to wait till we noticed something was wrong before screening got done.
Your dentist will also encourage you to look for symptoms of oral cancer, including:
- Sores in your mouth that bleed frequently and refuse to heal
- A lump or hard spot
- Crusty or rough areas in your mouth
- Changes in your teeth's alignments
- Difficulties with oral functions such as chewing, moving your tongue, or swallowing
Most healthcare professionals also recommended that if you find out that you have oral cancer, you visit your dentist before treatment begins. The visit will ensure that your dentist becomes aware of your treatment and effects that it may have on your oral health.
Does Insurance Cover Oral Cancer Screenings?
Almost all insurance companies do cover Oral Cancer Screenings for patients. However, if your health insurance plan does not cover oral cancer screenings, it's still likely worth getting the scan done once per year as it generally only costs about $20 on average for a complete scan. You may think oral cancer is a rare occurrence, but it occurs more often than you think. For that price, it's better safe than sorry, whether your insurance covers it or not.
Anyone can contract oral cancer, so an annual oral cancer screening makes a smart healthcare move for every patient. At Rush Creek Dentistry we provide each patient with an annual screening through our state-of-the-art ViziLite Plus Annual Oral Cancer Screening Exam. If you are interested in getting an oral cancer screening, please feel free to contact us at 817-962-2323 to schedule an appointment or consultation at your earliest convenience.