Lives all around us are being touched by cancer. We all have friends, family members, or co-workers that have battled this ever-spreading disease, yet we try to ignore the possibility of it ever happening to us. However, ignorance is not bliss in this instance, and we should be aware of warning signs. This is true for the mouth as well. Oral or pharyngeal cancer affects almost 37,000 Americans each year, and is usually far-advanced before it is detected. Traditional methods of detecting oral cancer relied on visual check and physical palpitations by hand. New methods of detection are making dental news, making your Dental Life professional a key part of your cancer prevention regime. And while your dentist is not responsible for treating oral cancer, he is certainly a vital part of early detection and dealing with the effects of cancer.
Risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco and alcohol use as well as HPV (human papillomavirus). Men over 40 are also more susceptible, but just because you don’t fall into one of these categories does not mean you are immune to oral cancer. Anyone can get oral cancer, so it is important to know the signs for early detection.
Symptoms of oral cancer can include:
● White or red patches in your mouth
● Loose teeth
● Oral Bleeding
● Mouth sores that do not heal
Keep in mind that these symptoms do not mean you have cancer. Many people have similar issues that are not cancerous at all. However, it is important to keep an eye on these issues and check with your dentist if they persist. More advanced signs of oral cancer can include:
● Lump in the neck
● Difficulty or pain with swallowing
● Numbness in the mouth
So, what should you do if you are suffering some of these symptoms? Scheduling an appointment with your dentist is often a good first step. A dentist will not treat oral cancer, but he can quickly eliminate other factors that may be causing your symptoms. A dental visit may be all you need to put your fears to rest and ensure your mouth is in optimal health. After you have explained your concerns, the dentist will perform an examination of your mouth’s condition. This will involve a physical inspection, but may also include some of the latest technology in dentistry news, including an intra-oral screening light that helps make cancer easier to spot. With three different colors of lights, the tool allows your dentist to check for unusually high cellular activity, and monitor vein condition. If any sign of possible cancer is apparent, your dentist will refer you to a specialist for further investigation.
Oral cancer can lead to damaged teeth which can be addressed after the cancer has been treated. Cosmetic dentistry brings bright smiles back to cancer patients with the use of a number of progressive treatments, including dental implants. NYC cancer survivors have the benefit of many of America’s finest dental professionals. Remember mouth reconstruction is a crucial part of healing from oral cancer.