When To Book an Oral Cancer Screening

Cosmetic Dentist Serving Lakewood, Denver, Golden & Nearby Colorado


oral cancer screeningOral cancer impacts over 54,500 lives each year. Although many people feel oral cancer is not a concern, regular screenings are crucial to catching symptoms early. When you schedule an appointment with Dr. Scott Greenhalgh in Lakewood, CO, you can receive a comprehensive oral cancer screening using advanced Vizilite technology. 

What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is a name for head and neck cancers that begin anywhere inside your oral cavity. This includes the teeth, tongue, gums, salivary glands, inner cheeks, and the roof and floor of the mouth. Oropharyngeal cancer is a type of oral cancer that affects the middle part of the throat called the oropharynx.

Why Should People Get Oral Cancer Screenings?

Oral cancers can have a variety of symptoms. You may experience throat soreness, jaw stiffness, or persistent pain in your mouth, jaw, teeth, or ears. Some people's mouths or tongues develop lumps or reddish or whitish patches. 

Others discover lip sores that won't clear up. You might even notice trouble chewing, difficulty swallowing, or loose teeth. Oral cancer screenings are essential because cancers aren't the only cause of these symptoms. Knowing precisely what's happening is the key to effective treatment.

Oral Cancer Screening Basics: How They Work and When To Get Them

Oral cancer screenings are all about prevention. They help your caregiver spot cancer before it produces symptoms. In other words, it's best to get them early.

Most screenings happen as part of a regular dental checkup. This means you would have an oral cancer screening at least twice a year. But there are exceptions to this golden rule. Some people may be at increased odds of developing oral cancer regardless of whether they currently have symptoms. Noteworthy risk factors include:

  • Experiencing any of the oral cancer symptoms listed above for more than two weeks
  • Having a history of smoking or using other forms of tobacco, even if you've quit
  • Drinking alcohol regularly or heavily
  • Having a weakened immune system or human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Getting a lot of sun exposure to your lips

What happens if your dentist discovers an abnormality? In these cases, you'll often undergo a small tissue removal. Your dentist can send this sample for a biopsy lab test to analyze the extracted cells. You may also benefit from imaging or visual inspections to determine how far the cancer has spread.

Catch Oral Cancer Early

Dr. Greenhalgh uses Vizilite technology to scan for abnormal tissues that are not visible during a physical dental exam. This allows for early detection that improves your treatment outcomes. Book a screening today by scheduling online or calling 303-988-9060. We serve patients in Lakewood, Denver, Golden, and surrounding areas of Colorado.