There are two known pathways leading to oral cancer. This first is tobacco and alcohol use. The other is through exposure to HPV (human papilomma virus – HPV16). When oral cancer is detected early, survival rates are good (80-90%). Unfortunately, most oral cancers are not detected until late stage, which is why the death rate from oral cancer is high (45% five years after diagnosis). In Canada, oral cancer kills one person every hour of every day; this is why our dentists believe taking an oral cancer screening test is vital to helping maintain your oral health.
Who is at risk for oral cancer?
In the past, oral cancer was believed to be associated mostly with tobacco use. This is no longer the case. In fact, in people younger than 50 years old, HPV is now believed to be the main causitive agent. Because the risk factors now include tobacco, alcohol, and/or exposure to HPV-16, nearly every adult in Canada is at risk for developing oral cancer. For this reason Morningside Dental Care dentists recommends basic oral cancer screenings twice per year, and a specific oral cancer screening (VELscope) once every year (like most cancer screenings like mammogram, PSA-test, and Pap-smear). Like any cancer, it is only through early detection that your chances for survival improve.
How Morningside Dental Care screen for oral cancer?
Every time you have a cleaning and check-up at Morningside Dental Care, our dentists and hygienists are doing a visual oral cancer screening for you. Morningside Dental Care strongly recommends an additional screening (VELscope) once per year. These oral cancer screenings have the ability to detect early stages of oral cancer before a lesion is visible to our eyes.
Furthermore, if you have a lump, bump, crack, ulcer, spot or other area of concern in/on your mouth, lips, tongue, palate, gums, cheek, or throat, we ask that you call us immediately, so that we can see you for an additional exam.
Even if you are not a patient of Morningside Dental Care, if you have a concern, please call us at 416-282-1175 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will find time to take a look and discuss your concern.
Will my insurance pay for oral cancer screening?
Most insurance companies do not cover these screenings. At Morningside Dental Care, we will do a complimentary Oral Cancer Screening. We feel very strongly that your insurance company does not have the right to dictate the quality or level of care you receive.
Many times we are told by insurance companies: “That screening process is new technology, and so we won’t cover it.” At Morningside Dental Care, we feel that this insurance mentality stands as a barrier in the way of patients receiving the best care.
Services » Oral Cancer Screening Dentist