At Life Smiles Dentistry, we are working to pioneer a new culture of dentistry. As such, we like to focus on a “total health philosophy” which includes:
- Integrating with the patient’s primary medical providers or specialists when and where it is indicated.
- Taking patient’s key vitals (blood pressure and heart rate) at every appointment.
- Educating the patient on how their dental health connects to total body wellness.
- Training all team members to take proactive measure in risk prevention, basic life support certification, and have appropriate medical emergency equipment on hand.
- Offering smoking cessation programs for patients.
- Taking enhanced measures in management of drug and opioid addiction prevention.
- And most recently, oral cancer screenings.
What is an Oral Cancer Screening?
An oral cancer screening is an easy way for dental professionals to determine whether or not a patient may be at risk for oral cancer. This screening can be done in the office during your regular dental checkup. A visual screening can be done with no technology or instrument and can be part of routine evaluation.
During cleanings and other exams, your dentist should be checking the teeth and gums for signs of oral cancer. For more in-depth examinations, a dentist will manipulate the glands and lift under the tongue to slide back underneath for a good look at the base of the tongue. If cancerous spots are visible, it’s a stage 4 diagnosis. You can catch stage 2 or 3 with different screening instruments, but they are not detectable to the natural eye. Cancer that returns after treatment is known as recurrent oral cancer.
At Life Smiles Dentistry, we use an oral mucosal visual enhancement system called Identafi®, which allows us to painless screen for affected areas in less than 90 seconds.
Should your dentist discover an anomaly during your screening, they will refer to an oral surgeon or an ENT for a biopsy.
Because our dentists care about your and your overall health, we encourage you to schedule a regular checkup today and to sit down with your dentist and discuss factors that may put you at risk of developing oral cancer.