Sunshine Dental
2525 36 St NE #117 Calgary AB T1Y 5T4 (403) 293-7545
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Calgary, AB

587-317-5881
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How Your Dentist Checks for Oral Cancer

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For some dental or oral health issues, like oral cancer, early detection holds the best chance for a full recovery — so your dentist will keep an eye out for the early warning signs. A dental exam is your opportunity to get a professional inspection of your oral health.

How Often Do I Need a Visit to the Dentist?

The general rule for dental visit frequency is once every 6 months for both a check-up and cleaning.  Factors such as your oral hygiene home care, diet, habits, history of dental disease, and your overall health will impact the frequency of your dental visits. Your dentist will discuss this with you and advise you of the frequency of dental check-ups and cleanings that is best suited for you and your health.

Why Health Screening Is a Critical Focus at Dental Exams

In 2020, an estimated 5,400 Canadians will be diagnosed with some form of oral cancer. Of those 5,400, there will be an estimated 1,500 deaths. Early detection and treatment are key to a positive outcome.

Oral health screening is an integral part of your dentist’s training. Your dentist can inspect your mouth more efficiently and effectively with regular dental exams, as your oral health can change quickly. 

Signs of Oral Cancer

Like most cancers, oral cancer gets worse the longer it has to develop without medical intervention. Fortunately, oral and pharyngeal (throat) cancers are not as threatening when diagnosed at an early stage. Often, there are some telling visual cues that your dentist can spot efficiently, which can include:

Factors Increasing the Risk of Oral Cancer

Certain factors such as age and genetics may increase the risk of oral cancer. Other notable risk factors include:

  • Consumption of tobacco products (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, etc.)
  • Heavy alcohol consumption (It is especially dangerous to combine smoking and alcohol)
  • Prolonged, repeated exposure of the lips to sunlight
  • Poor (imbalanced) diet

If there is a genetic factor, having the same dentist for your whole family grants your dentist some context when treating family members. It might allow family history to inform your dentist’s prevention efforts for other members of your family.

Precancerous Growths

Certain types of growths and lesions may be considered precancerous, meaning that although they are not cancerous yet, they may potentially become cancerous. Whether in the family or not, a history of leukoplakia is also a risk factor. Leukoplakia appear as thick, whitish-colour patches, found inside your mouth.

A lesser-known risk factor is a condition called erythroplakia, where red lesions form inside the mouth, in patterns similar to leukoplakia.

How Your Dentist Confirms Oral Cancer

young woman receiving panoramic xray in her chair from overhead

In addition to checking your mouth for visual signs, your dentist may also ask you questions to determine any risk-factors that may lead to oral cancer.

X-rays

Part of a dental exam includes both intraoral and extraoral panoramic x-rays. This process not only covers the tissues in the mouth, but it can detect tumours spreading to the jaw as well. X-rays allow your dentist to identify any cancerous growths that aren’t visible on the tissue surfaces of your mouth and throat.

Biopsy

If your dentist recognizes the need to confirm if a growth is cancerous, they’ll refer you for a procedure called a biopsy — which involves surgically removing a sample of the tissue followed by lab analysis to determine whether it’s cancerous

Being Proactive with Dental Examination

A dental exam makes it possible to act quickly against the sudden onset of oral cancer. Early detection makes surgery that much easier, and decreases the chances of life-threatening development. Your dentist is your first line of defence and can lean on specialists if there’s a need for further diagnosis and/or treatment.

Regular cleanings aren’t formal dental exams, but if your dental health happens to be changing, your hygienist can still observe warning signs and set you up with a dental exam quickly and efficiently. Consult your dentist for an examination schedule that works for you, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with thorough oral health checks!

Finding Us Is Easy

Located in Sunridge Mall, NE Calgary

Visit us in the Lower Level of Sunridge Mall in NE Calgary. We are next door to Old Navy and the West Mall Entrance, with direct outside access from the parking lot. We offer direct insurance billing. We handle all the paperwork, so you don’t have to!

Open evenings and weekends for your convenience.

Address

#117 2525 36 Street NE
Calgary , T1Y5T4

Contact Information

Phone: 587-317-5881
Email: sunshinedental@shaw.ca

Hours

Monday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Sunday
Closed

Our Location

Visit us in the Lower Level of Sunridge Mall in NE Calgary. We are next door to Old Navy and the West Mall Entrance, with direct outside access from the parking lot. We offer direct insurance billing. We handle all the paperwork, so you don’t have to!

Open evenings and weekends for your convenience.

Located in Sunridge Mall, NE Calgary

#117 2525 36 Street NE
Calgary , T1Y5T4

Contact Information

Phone: 587-317-5881
Email: sunshinedental@shaw.ca
Monday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Sunday
Closed

The Process is Simple

Request an
Appointment

Call or come see us. We’ll schedule you in for a time that works for you.

Get Your
Consultation

One of our general dentists will take a look and evaluate your oral health.

Request
Your Treatment

We'll work with you to schedule the next steps to get you on your way to a healthy and beautiful smile.

Enjoy
Direct Billing

Leave all the paperwork to us. We deal with all insurance companies so you don't have to. We also direct bill and take insurance assignment.

The Process is Simple

Request an
Appointment

Call or come see us. We’ll schedule you in for a time that works for you.

Get Your
Consultation

One of our general dentists will take a look and evaluate your oral health.

Request
Your Treatment

We'll work with you to schedule the next steps to get you on your way to a healthy and beautiful smile.

Enjoy
Direct Billing

Leave all the paperwork to us. We deal with all insurance companies so you don't have to. We also direct bill and take insurance assignment.

Request an Appointment

Submit a form to request an appointment, someone will be in contact within 24 hours to book.