This is a great video explaining how Oral Cancer Screenings work
Did you know oral cancer screenings are part of your regular dental exam? This is a quick and non-invasive test that could save your life.
What Is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is a growth of cells that can appear as a sore or a lump in your lips, tongue, cheeks and the floor and roof of your mouth. It is potentially life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early on.
What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer can produce various symptoms that include:
• Lumps, bumps or swellings on the lips or gums, or inside the mouth
• White or red patches inside the mouth that could feel velvety to the touch
• A feeling of numbness in the mouth or a feeling of pain or tenderness
• Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
• Having a persistent sore that fails to heal after two weeks
• Feeling as if something is caught right at the back of your throat
• Having difficulty chewing or swallowing
• Having difficulty speaking or moving your tongue or jaws
• Developing an earache
• Developing a chronic sore throat or noticing your voice has become horse
• Noticing your teeth or dentures fit together slightly differently
• Unexplained weight loss
As you can see, these symptoms are quite varied and often there is another reason for their development. However, if you notice any of these changes, it’s worth getting in touch with us here at Avery’s Creek Family Dentistry. Our local dentist would far rather put your mind at rest. If anything is wrong, the sooner it is treated the better the prognosis.
Who Is Most at Risk of Getting Oral Cancer?
Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer as women, with men over the age of 50 particularly at risk. Factors that can increase your risk of this disease include:
• Smoking, with smokers six times more likely to develop oral cancers
• Using smokeless tobacco products puts you 50 times more at risk of developing cancers of the cheeks, lips and gums
• Drinking to excess increases your risk by about six times
• Your risk increases if you have a family history of cancer
• Being exposed to the sun at an early age increases your risk
• The human papilloma virus (HPV) is a risk factor for certain forms of oral pharyngeal cancers
It’s important to remember that a quarter of all cancers are diagnosed in people with no known risk factors.
What Are Oral Cancer Screenings?
Oral cancer screenings are carried out regularly by our best dentist. During these cancer screenings, our local dentist will closely examine the tissues inside your mouth. Our dentist is checking for any color changes to tissues or any of the symptoms mentioned above. They will lift up your tongue to examine it and they may gently feel the lymph nodes in your neck. This test doesn’t hurt and you may even be unaware it is happening.
What Happens If My Dentist Finds Something Wrong?
Dentists have received special training in identifying the very early signs of oral cancer. If they think anything is wrong then they will take a small sample of cells. These cells can be collected on a special brush, or a biopsy might be required. If you do need a biopsy, this will be conducted under local anesthetic to keep you comfortable.
Being Aware of Any Changes in between Dental Checkups
Regular dental examinations are a great way to help reduce your risk of oral cancers, but a self-exam can also be useful. Try to get in the habit of looking inside your mouth at least once a month so you can spot any color or texture changes to the tissues. This self-exam also helps you become accustomed to what looks normal, so you can more easily spot any small changes. If you have a canker sore or any sort of sore that fails to heal within two weeks please get in touch with us straightaway. Although regular self-exams are useful, they are not a substitute for proper oral cancer screenings by a dentist so please make sure you attend regular dental exams.
Are you concerned about your dental health or are you overdue for a checkup? Contact our dental office for your cancer screenings. We are here for you and will provide you with high quality, gentle dental care.
Call Us Today on (828)-676-2144
Avery’s Creek Family Dentistry serves Avery’s Creek, Arden, Ashville, Oak Park, Fletcher, Royal Pines, Biltmore Park, Biltmore Forest, Bent Creek, Fairview, Beaverdam, Candler, Naples, Mills River, Enka Village, Woodside Hills and the Buncombe County area.
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