When someone is missing teeth, a couple of replacement options include bridges and dental implants. These are common ways to fill in the gaps, but there are differences between the two. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to understand them before making a decision.A bridge is anchored by the teeth on…
Oral Cancer Screening: Early Detection for Less Invasive Treatment
Early detection of oral cancer through oral cancer screening increases the chances of successful treatment and less invasive treatment options. According to the National Institute of Dental Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), more than 50 percent of Americans survive the battle with oral cancer after five years.
Dentists usually examine the oral cavity during routine dental checkups, but patients must also pay attention to some of the warning signals and risk factors so they can alert their dentist immediately.
Signs and symptoms of oral cancer
Oral cancer can start from anywhere in the oral cavity –– the lips, tongue, throat, larynx, sinuses, salivary glands, or the pharynx. Since early detection is vital for beating this condition, patients must visit the dentist immediately for oral cancer screening if any of the following symptoms persist for more than two weeks.
- Lumpy feeling in the throat
- Swelling, sores, lumps, or thick patches around the mouth or throat
- Red or white lesions on the lips or in the mouth
- Gum swelling
- Numbness, tenderness, or pain in the mouth
- Issues with jaw or tongue movement, or difficulty chewing, talking or swallowing.
- Persistent sore throat or hoarseness
- Loose teeth
- Earache with no hearing loss
Causes of Oral Cancer
Although there is no definite cause of oral cancer, individual lifestyle choices can predispose someone to the risk of the disease. Tobacco in any form –– cigars, pipes, cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco can increase oral cancer risks. According to the Mouth Cancer Foundation, approximately 90 percent of patients diagnosed with oral cancer use tobacco. Excessive consumption of alcohol also increases the risk of the disease, and even more if the person uses tobacco as well.
Aside from tobacco and alcohol, eating habits and exposure to the sun may also cause oral cancer. Recently, there has been a surge in oral cancer cases caused by sexually transmitted Human Papilloma Virus (HPV 16).
Oral Cancer Screening and Treatment
Oral cancer screenings conducted by the dentist are fast, painless, and vital for detecting the condition in its early phase. During a routine dental checkup, the dentist will also examine the lips and gums for any abnormalities. They may also palpate the jaw and neck region and check the gums thoroughly. This screen should be performed every six months.
If the dentist suspects oral cancer, they will suggest a biopsy of the area. If the diagnosis is positive, surgery may be required to treat the affected part, usually followed by radiation and chemotherapy.
When in doubt, prevention is the best call. Daily oral hygiene is necessary to prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease. Dental experts recommend brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and reducing sugars. By making healthier lifestyle choices –– such as reducing smoking, alcohol, and exposure to the sun –– patients can remarkably reduce their chances of developing mouth cancer.
Finally, if you are familiar with the signs and continue to visit the dentist for regular oral cancer screening, oral cancer can be detected on time and treated successfully with less invasive procedures.
Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Read our Yelp reviews.
Brushing and flossing are essential oral hygiene basics that help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. While many people pay careful attention to their teeth and gums, the tongue is often neglected. However, this large surface of the mouth should also be cleaned on a daily basis. Doing so can help many people enjoy better…
A patient may invest in dental implants for a variety of different reasons, many of which focus on positively changing personal image and improving overall oral health. Implants are often applied when patients are missing one or more teeth and are not interested (or have had no success with) dentures or dental bridges. To understand…
When it comes to tooth replacement options, you have several, one of which is dental implants. Dental implants are an advanced tooth replacement option that comes with several benefits. In addition to improving the aesthetics of your smile, implants can help to improve the functionality of your mouth. They feel and work virtually identically to…