- Personalized dentistry to promote healthy and beautiful smiles for patients of all ages.
At Jen Kim: Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, our goal is your continued good health. Oral cancer screenings are typically a part of every dentist’s examination, but at our office, we take it a step further to protect your health and catch cancer before it has a chance to develop.
When you see the dentist, an oral cancer screening usually involves a visual examination for unusual red, white, or black spots in the mouth that indicate pre-cancer or cancerous growths. The dentist will check all the soft tissues in your mouth including your tongue, gums, lips, and tonsils. He or she will also gently move your tongue to check the sides and underside of the tongue.
With Velscope, we can do much better. While the naked eye can catch growths that have already developed, Velscope allows us to see dysplastic cells, or cells that are just beginning to make their transformation into pre-cancerous cells, as well as cells that are already pre-cancerous. This is a very important distinction. When we catch cells that are just beginning to change, it gives us a significant advantage over cancer and allows us to remove and treat the cancer very early..
At your examination, we will also discuss steps you can take to prevent oral cancer from developing in the first place. Genetic factors can lead to an increased risk for developing cancer. While you can not control your genetics, if you have a history of any type of cancer in your family, it is very important that you let us know. Make a personal commitment to attending your twice yearly examinations so we can continue to monitor you for oral cancer.
Some products are known carcinogens and should be avoided to help prevent cancer. Smoking is one of the most infamous carcinogens and is often a culprit in the development of oral cancer. If you smoke, please speak with Dr. Kim. Many programs are available to help you quit, and we can help you access these as well as provide encouragement and support.
Drinking alcoholic beverages has also been identified as a possibility when it comes to increasing your risk for oral cancer. The more you drink, the more at risk you are. Studies have also known that people who smoke and drink are at greater risk than people who only smoke or only drink.
Sun exposure can increase your risk for lip cancer. Wearing a lip balm or colored lipstick can protect your lips from the sun’s rays. Even though our area is not known for days of endless sun, remember that you can still get sun exposure on a cloudy day, and exposure is reflected and increased by water and snow. If you are spending the day on a boat on Lake Washington or hitting the slopes at Stevens Pass, do not forget the sunscreen and lip balm.
To learn more about cancer prevention and receive an oral cancer screening using Velscope, please call Jen Kim: Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Kirkland, WA, today.