Regular Dental Checkups Help Detect Oral Cancer

Posted on April 4, 2017 in General oral health

At a routine checkup, dentists can spot a lot more than just cavities. In fact, your dentist can detect the symptoms of more than 120 diseases, including oral cancer – another reason why it is so important to visit your dentist for regular checkups and exams.

You may not realize it, but your dentist is looking for signs of oral cancer during your regular exams. If you have symptoms or if you're at risk for getting oral cancer, your dentist may request additional screenings. Depending on your dental benefits plan, these preventive services are often covered at 100 percent, so you incur little or no out-of-pocket costs.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than one-third of women and nearly one-half of men in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. This group includes the over 49,000 Americans estimated to be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2017.1 When detected in the early stages, oral cancer is one of the more treatable cancers.

If oral cancer is diagnosed, the stage of the disease will determine the level of treatment needed. Whether discovered by a dentist or a physician, the treatment for oral cancer is typically a multi-disciplinary approach. Oral cancer patients may see a number of dental and medical specialists, including surgeons, oral surgeons, radiation oncologists, chemotherapy oncologists and restorative specialists. Some of these specialist services may be covered by a dental plan, while others are covered by a medical plan.

Members should check their dental benefits plan to find out what oral cancer services and treatments are covered. You can log into your Delta Dental of Illinois member account at for more information.

Remember, along with a healthy lifestyle and maintaining good oral health habits, regularly visiting your dentist is an important part of the fight against oral cancer and may even save your life.

Visit for free oral health resources and tools to keep your smile healthy.

Click below to view our oral cancer flyer for more information on how to prevent this disease and read more about the different types of oral cancer, oral cancer risks and treatment options for oral cancer.

1 American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2015. 2 National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research 2014. 3 American Cancer Society, Surveillance Research 2014.