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Oral cancer screening

Detecting oral cancer early is key to effectively treating it. At Aspen Dental, we provide you with comprehensive oral cancer screening services. Take the first step toward your future health and schedule a screening today at your local office. 

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'86%: the 5-year survival rate for oral cancer if detected early,' emphasizing the importance of early diagnosis in improving health outcomes.

Why oral cancer screening matters

Oral cancer affects people of all ages, but it’s twice as likely to happen in men.¹ If you have HPV, or regularly consume tobacco or alcohol, this also greatly increases your risk. Regular visits to your dentist can catch signs of cancer early on and make it easier to treat.

¹National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Symptoms of Oral cancer:
Sores or lumps in mouth, lips or throat
White or red spots in mouth
Numbness in mouth or tongue
Pain or bleeding in mouth
Persistent sore throat
Loss of voice
Difficulty  chewing, swallowing or speaking
Limited mobility of jaw or tongue
Ear pain

How to spot oral cancer

It’s best to be proactive when it comes to detecting oral cancer. If you notice any of the following symptoms, share your experience with your dentist so they can help you get the care you need.

What to expect during oral cancer screening

Comprehensive dental checkup and oral cancer screening

Full examination

Your dentist will conduct a comprehensive examination of your mouth and throat, checking for any abnormalities or suspicious signs.

Specialized screening device used for oral cancer screening

Specialized screening

Aspen Dental uses a specialized screening device which leverages fluorescence visualization technology. This helps your dentist identify any abnormalities in the oral cavity, including potential signs of cancer.

Keep open communication with your Aspen Dental care team during oral cancer screening

Open communication

Open communication is encouraged during the screening. If you have any concerns or questions, feel free to discuss them with your care team.

After oral cancer screening, information and findings shared with the patients.

Education and recommendations

Following the screening, you’ll be provided with information about your results and any follow-up recommendations.

Oral cancer screening results

Receiving the results of an oral cancer screening will help you better understand your oral health, and the next best steps to take. It’s important to remember that an abnormal result doesn't necessarily mean you have cancer.

Many oral issues, such as benign growths or infections, can produce abnormal findings during a screening. Your dentist will make customized recommendations for you based on their findings.

Here’s how oral cancer screening results are typically communicated:

If your oral cancer screening results are normal, it means there are no evident signs of cancer or any other concerning issues with your mouth or throat. 

If your screening reveals abnormalities or suspicious lesions, your dentist will discuss these findings with you. They may collaborate with a specialist for further testing, including:

  • Biopsy: A small sample of tissue will be taken for laboratory analysis to determine if cancerous cells are present.

  • Imaging tests: In some cases, additional imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans or MRIs may be suggested to assess the extent of the abnormality or to check for signs that cancer has spread.

If needed, your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon or an oncologist for further evaluation and management, especially if cancer is suspected.

If the abnormalities are not definitively cancerous but require monitoring, your dentist will schedule follow-up appointments to track any changes over time.

Cost of oral cancer screening

The cost of an oral cancer screening varies depending on factors like your Aspen Dental office location, and whether you have dental insurance. In general, the cost typically ranges from $25 to $50 for an enhanced screening.

Oral cancer screening FAQs

During your oral cancer screening, your dentist will visually examine your mouth and throat. Aspen Dental uses specialized tools such as OralID to aid in detecting abnormal tissues and prompt further diagnostic tests like biopsies if any suspicious findings are identified. We also recommend checking for indicating signs at home, such as swollen and hard lymph nodes near your jawline, discoloration in your cheeks and gums or if you have difficulty moving your tongue.

You can receive a traditional oral cancer screening at various healthcare facilities, including your local Aspen Dental office, oral surgery clinics and some primary care physician offices. It's essential to schedule regular dental check-ups, as your Aspen Dental care team may include an enhanced oral cancer screening as part of the exam.

Oral cancer screenings are recommended for adults of all ages, as oral cancer can affect anyone regardless of age or gender. Individuals with risk factors such as tobacco or alcohol use, a family history of oral cancer or previous oral cancer diagnoses should especially consider regular screenings.

Generally, you should have an oral cancer screening at least once a year during your routine dental check-up. However, individuals with higher risk factors, such as tobacco users, may require more frequent screenings.

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Oral cancer screening: early detection matters

When it comes to oral cancer, early detection matters. Regular visits to your Aspen Dental dentist can help you stay on top of your oral health and alert you to any potential risks or concerns. Call to schedule your appointment today.

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