Every time you open your mouth for a dental provider, we are on the look out for certain things. Of course we look at your teeth and your gums, but we are also looking for anything that might be unusual because this could mean there is a more serious problem. We are especially concerned about oral cancer. In this country, 42,000 oral cancer diagnoses are given each year. Of those 42,000, 64% will survive past the next 5 years. The ones who survive are patients who caught the cancer early enough for it to be treated.
Oral cancer can occur on the lips, gums, cheeks, tongue, roof of mouth, floor of mouth, and throat. There is a large majority of oral cancer patients who are male, 50+ years old, and have been a smoker or drinker throughout their lifetime. There is a growing number of younger oral cancer patients whose cancer is linked to human papillomavirus (HPV).
What Will You Notice?
You might notice things before we have a chance to see you. You should be on the look out for sores that won’t go away, red or white patches, numbness or tenderness in the oral tissue, a crusty or lumpy spot, difficulty moving your tongue, or a change in the way you teeth fit together. Call for an appointment at the first sign of a problem because the sooner it’s looked at, the sooner we know what we’re dealing with.
Oral cancer isn’t topping any local headlines, but believe us when we say that it is serious business. The key to defeating oral cancer is early detection, which means you come to see us regularly and often. Oral cancer is not linked to your teeth, so it doesn’t matter if you have dentures, implants, or a full set of natural teeth. Contact us if you have any questions, and call us immediately if you see anything suspicious!