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Oral Cancer Screenings

Hand holding an oral cancer awareness ribbonOral cancer claims one life an hour in the US alone, and patients diagnosed this year only have a 50% chance for surviving beyond five years. These dramatic statistics have lead the Oral Cancer Foundation to do research to determine how to decrease annual deaths associated with this disease. After conducting research, the Oral Cancer Foundation determined that earlier diagnosis is the key to ensuring successful treatment for oral cancer and reducing the numbers of annual deaths. At VL Dental, we are dedicated to providing oral cancer screenings as part of every six month dental exam to help reduce our patients’ risk for this disease. If you want to learn more about oral cancer screenings or any of our other treatment options, don’t hesitate to contact the Richmond dentist and dentistry team at VL Dental. We will be happy to work with you to achieve and maintain healthy, beautiful smiles.

Why are Oral Cancer Screenings Important?

Woman receiving oral cancer screeningMany patients think that they don’t need oral cancer screenings unless they smoke or use tobacco. While tobacco use is the leading cause of oral cancer, it is only one of many habits associated with this disease. Some diagnosed patients don’t engage in any high risk behaviors at all, so it’s essential that every patient receive regular screenings. When caught in the earliest stages, oral cancer can almost always be successfully treated, so these oral cancer screenings can help patients stay healthy.

How are Oral Cancer Screenings Performed?

Man in dental chair talking to dentistYour oral cancer screening will be quick and comfortable. We begin by visually examining your oral and facial structures. Then, we will feel your lymph nodes for signs of swelling. A special fluorescent light is used to reveal potential areas of concern in earlier stages. We may also ask you a number of questions to help us better understand your risk for oral cancer and determine whether or not you’re experiencing non-visual symptoms of this disease.

Does Oral Cancer Screening Cost Extra?

Happy young woman with healthy smileIn our office, it’s just one part of your six month dental exam, and we do not charge extra for this service. We believe these screenings are an essential part of preventive dentistry services for patients, so it’s included at no extra cost.

How Often do I Need an Oral Cancer Screening?

We will screen for oral cancer as part of every six month dental exam at VL Dental usually beginning with patients in their teens. You can also screen for oral cancer at home and let our team know if you notice any of the common warning signs associated with oral cancer, including:

  • Changes in color or texture of soft tissue
  • Lumps or bumps in soft tissue
  • Sores in the mouth, especially those that don’t heal within a few days
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Sore throat or hoarse voice
  • Difficulty swallowing