We are committed to patients in and around Germantown, always striving to improve their dental health and in the process enhance overall wellness.
Many times this is accomplished through the latest dental technology, including treatment and diagnostic tools. These advanced tools are particularly helpful in the identification and diagnosis of oral cancers, a topic that we’d like to go over right now.
About Oral Cancers
Oral cancer refers to cancer that affects various parts of your mouth, including the tongue, the salivary glands, the jaw joint, the palate, and the throat. This cancer can spread to the lymph nodes, meaning that the cancer can quickly spread throughout the body if it is not caught early.
The most common kind of oral cancer is squamous cell carcinoma, which affects the squamous cells in the mouth.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancers
The most common sign of oral cancer is usually sores and growths on different parts of the mouth. These sores can appear on the gums, the tongue, the lips, and so on. These sores may grow with time and be a notable red or pale color. Be sure to be mindful of any sores that develop that do not go away on their own or improve after a week or two. If they are especially painful or cause major irritation, they are worth getting checked by your general practitioner or dentist.
Apart from sores, other signs of oral cancer include issues with the tongue pain and tongue mobility, problems with swallowing, persistent dry mouth, persistent bad breath, and any burning sensations in your mouth.
Routine Dental Exams and Oral Cancer Screenings
During your routine dental exam, your dentist will check your gums and tongue for any abnormal sores or growths. It’s important that you bring these matters up with your dentist if you have noticed any undue pain or discomfort from sores or growths in the mouth. Bringing this to the attention of your dentist will help you get the treatment that you need as soon as possible.
Advanced Diagnostics for Detecting Oral Cancer
If a sore is detected and seems like a potentially cancerous growth, advanced checks can be performed regarding the affected tissues in the mouth. We use OralIDâ„¢ for these checks, which involves fluorescence technology to analyze the structure of the underlying soft tissues.
Sometimes special x-rays and imaging tests will also be involved, with rinses used to identify problematic sores. This will allow your dentist to determine whether or not the sore is cancerous or not.
Implementing Treatment: Early Detection Is Always Best
The reason these oral cancer screenings are so important is that early detection is the best option for successful cancer treatment. By catching the cancer early, doctors have a better chance of slowly or halting its spread. As soon as you notice anything out of the ordinary regarding growths or sores, be sure to schedule a cancer screening to be safe.
Smoking and Tobacco Products Are a Major Risk Factor
One of the major risk factors for developing oral cancer is the use of tobacco products. Smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco is linked to roughly three-quarters of oral cancer cases that are diagnosed. This is just another important reason to quit smoking or simply just not start.
Schedule a Consultation for a Dental Health Exam
For more information about oral cancer screenings and other matters related to your overall health and wellness, be sure to contact our dental care center today. Our team looks forward to discussing your needs in greater detail and helping you make the best possible decisions with regard to your overall dental health.