Does Your Dentist Look for Cancer?

Whenever we think of visiting the dentist’s office is either for a regularly scheduled cleaning or maybe an emergency trip for a chipped tooth; things that dentists of all specialties and levels of experience can take care of. Seldom do we think of dentists when things are going well so it is easy to underestimate just how much a dentist can do. For instance, have you ever considered that dentists can pinpoint a potential cancer threat during a regular checkup?

Indeed, with the technological advancements in the dental health industry it is now possible to have dentists look for signs of cancer during a regular examination. Part of the dental hygiene process that some dentists follow includes periodontal health check, or checking for gum disease, a root planning, and cancer screening. During the periodontal health check dentists include a root planning, a procedure that involves removing the tartar and plaque that accumulates below the gum line. This accumulation is normal and, therefore, the procedure should be done consistently at every checkup; especially if the patients’ cleaning routine does not always include flossing or the use of mouthwash. The longer time that goes by, the more accumulation occurs even when the patient takes all the cleaning considerations. A good sign to look for that you might need to have this simple procedure done is if you feel swelling in your gums or if they bleed when you brush as these are signs that there is plaque buildup and possibly bacteria has invaded your gum line.

Looking for cancer signs is not possible to the naked eye, however, during this dental health check up your dentist can use an ultraviolet light or similar device to complete the cancer screening, something that people at higher risk of cancer or other factors such as smoking or drinking heavily should consider with every dental checkup. The combination of a good dental cleaning and regular visits to the dentist will definitely reduce your need for more expensive and invasive procedures. Reminding your dentist to do a simple cancer screening during this process is safe, easy and very quick; and it will give you a peace of mind that your dental health professional is looking beyond the immediate health of your mouth but also looking for early signs of a disease that when caught early, can be a life saver. Ask your dentist on your next visit if he does cancer screenings, and if he doesn’t maybe it is time to shop around.

Author: Odette Mura is a guest author who specializes in dentists and has a passion for dental hygiene.


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