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Along with a consistent daily oral hygiene routine, having a dental checkup performed twice a year is essential for maintaining a healthy mouth. Each of these outpatient appointments consists of a dental hygienist performing a dental cleaning and polishing treatment.

Once this is done our dentist will administer a detailed oral exam to detect any early signs of tooth decay or periodontal disease. This segment of the appointment also includes a preliminary screening for any signs of oral or pharyngeal cancer. Catching these oral health problems early will go a long way toward improving your chances for successful treatment.

The University of Rochester Medical Center notes that the 5-year relative survival rate for individuals with early-stage oral or pharyngeal cancer 83%. However, this number drops significantly if delayed diagnosis allows cancer spread to a nearby lymph node or metastasized to another part of the body.

If you notice any abnormalities in your mouth and throat between your dental checkups, you shouldn’t procrastinate having Dr. Chet B. Hawkins administer a screening.

Common warning signs of developing oral cancer often include a persistent pain in your mouth, which could also be associated with a localized area of swelling or a lump. Pharyngeal cancer, which is also known as throat cancer, can also cause a persistent sore throat or a feeling like something is stuck in the back of your throat.

If out dentist finds an area of concern he will refer you to an oncologist or other specialist to confirm a diagnosis and start the treatment process.

If you live in the Houston, Texas, area and you have an oral health concern, you should call 281-488-4242 to schedule a dental checkup at Chet B. Hawkins DDS Inc.