Oral cancer is one of the scariest diagnoses you can hear at your local dentist office. Fortunately, the “c” word doesn’t have to mean what it used to for patients. Today, we have the power to detect oral cancer early, optimizing the chance of successful treatment. Regular visits to Contemporary Family Dentistry can enable you to catch and treat oral cancer early, maximizing odds of a cure. We have the skills and tools to detect early signs of cancer, at which point we’ll fight it with everything we’ve got.
FACTS ABOUT ORAL CANCER
Like all forms of cancer, the more informed you are, the better. With our help, you can learn everything you need to know about oral cancer. While each case is different, here are a few general facts about oral cancer:
- Every year, almost 50,000 people in the U.S. receive oral cancer diagnoses.
- Some oral cancers do not produce visible early warning signs, while others do.
- Oral cancer poses a high risk of secondary tumors elsewhere in the body.
- There are several types of oral cancers, but squamous cell carcinomas are most common.
- Most people are over the age of 40 when they discover oral cancer.
- Age, tobacco use, alcohol, and persistent viral infections increase the risk of oral cancer.
- Oral cancer is twice as common in men as it is in women.
- Sun exposure increases the risk of skin and lip cancer of the mouth.
- If undetected, approximately 50% of people will die from oral cancer.
These facts are not meant to frighten you, but rather to educate you on the realities of oral cancer. The most important fact to remember is that early detection and treatment is crucial. Early detection can mean the difference between life and death. If you visit your dentist for no other reason, go for oral cancer checks and detection. Contemporary Family Dentistry has the tools to catch oral cancers early.
HOW WE CATCH ORAL CANCER
In the past, the high mortality rate with oral cancer was largely due to the inability to discover and diagnose this disease. Thanks to better technologies, however, it’s easier than ever to detect oral cancer in its earliest stages. Although some forms of oral cancer do not exhibit early signs, many do. Going to the dentist regularly for physical exams can help discover early signs of oral cancer, and start treatment right away. Signs or cancer may include:
- White or red spots or sores within the mouth, including on the lips, gums, cheek lining, tongue, and palate.
- Sores in the mouth that do not heal within 10 to 14 days. Bleeding sores are also red flags.
- Color changes of the oral tissues, as well as changes in the way the teeth fit together. Lumps, rough spots, thickening, or crusts may also point to oral cancer.
- Pain, tenderness, sensitivity, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or lips. Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue or jaw.
Oral cancer in its early stages can be painless and show little to no physical changes. In many cases, however, your dentist can notice tissue changes or signs of cancer. If your dentist sees something suspicious, he or she can order tests to diagnose the issue. If it is cancer, you can explore your treatment options. Early diagnosis is the best chance you can give yourself for recovery. Call our office today to schedule an oral checkup!
If you need dental x-rays, we have the equipment to do them right in our office. We won’t pass you off to other offices or dentists – you can come to us for all of your family dentistry needs. Exams and x-rays can speak volumes about the state of your smile, and help us discuss potential solutions to issues you’re experiencing. We can identify problems like cysts, tumors, decay, and teeth that have yet to come in. Our advanced, digital radiography is the latest technology for our patients. It reduces radiation exposure, gives instant viewing, and is environmentally friendly!
We want you to completely understand your needs, and make an educated, informed decision about treatment with our help. You’ll find the solutions you need at our Bend office!