Have You Had Your Regular Oral Cancer Exam?

Have You Had Your Regular Oral Cancer Exam?
January 22, 2015 BrightFlow Technologies

My name is Sherry Johnson and I have been a hygienist for more than 30 years. I love to help people and treat their dental needs allowing them to keep their teeth for a lifetime.

Visiting a Dentistry of the Carolinas office on a routine basis is very important for numerous reasons. One being that every Dentistry of the Carolina’s patient is screened for oral cancer as part of their routine dental exam. Oral cancer can be deadly if not detected at an early stage. In fact, 25% of oral cancer is found in individuals who are not considered high risk. This includes those who never drank alcohol or smoked cigarettes.

In early 2013 a new patient visited Dentistry of the Carolinas – Statesville after not being seen by a dentist for several years. The patient had shared that upon a recent visit to her medical doctor, she had had trouble swallowing and was subsequently placed on an antibiotic for a swollen tonsil. Not long after this, the patient returned to our office for a more advanced cleaning. She mentioned that she was still having issues with swallowing and her tonsils. We then performed our oral cancer exam and reiterated to the patient the importance of returning to her general practitioner for a follow-up exam due to what was felt upon palpation by our trained staff in the dental chair. At her six-month hygiene appointment, we learned that she had been diagnosed with medullary carcinoma thyroid cancer. Fortunately she had a biopsy performed in December of 2013 resulting in the removal of her thyroid of Feb 2014. The cancer was in a small area; she did not need radiation or chemotherapy and has since made a full recovery.

When the patient returned for continued care, we discussed the importance of going to the dentist for routine check-ups. The patient was in full agreement on how important early detection was in her diagnosis.

Had this patient been treated by a dentist on a more regular basis, the cancer might have been detected even earlier. This patient’s visit to our office allowed for early detection of her oral cancer, potentially saving her life.

Remember, oral cancer screening is easy and painless. Visiting your dentist on a routine basis is more than just about preventing cavities and keeping your teeth clean. A trip to your dentist can also save your life.

To set an appointment today for your oral cancer screening, make an appointment now.