A Dentist Can Watch for Signs of Oral Cancer

As a local dentist, we provide preventative care to help our patients stay in the best possible oral health.  We recommend that patients have their teeth cleaned and examDentistined at least twice a year.  This allows us to remove bacteria and plaque that can create cavities and gum disease.  We can also identify any infections and treat them in their early stages.  During regular dental exams, we will also watch for signs of oral cancer.

Statistically, around 35,000 U.S. adults are diagnosed with oral cancer on an annual basis.  This is a relatively unknown, yet common cancer.  Since more attention is paid to things like heart disease or breast cancer, many people are unaware of how to recognize oral cancer or when to go see a doctor.  This makes regular dental exams important for catching the disease in its early stages.

As a local dentist, we are able to watch for symptoms that a patient may find difficult to see.  Since the mouth is a dark place, it is hard to peer inside while simply looking in the mirror.  During dental exams, we shine a bright light into the mouth so that we can see every nook and cranny. There are several signs that we look for, including:

  • Red velvety bumps.  These bumps are typically signs of cancer and due to their color; they can be difficult to see at home.
  • Teeth moving or dentures not fitting.  Once all of a person’s adult teeth have come in, their teeth should not continue to move.  If they are, or dentures stop fitting like they should, it is time to call our office.  We can conduct a dental exam to see if anything strange is inside of the mouth and pushing teeth out of place.
  • Excessive bleeding.  If gums start to bleed during teeth brushing or for no reason at all, it may be a sign of gingivitis or gum disease.  This is a common problem that can cause pain and even make teeth fall out.  A trip to our dentist office is important for determining if it is gum disease that we can treat, or if it is oral cancer.  If it is the latter, we will refer you to an oncologist.
  • Bumps.  If there are lumps or bumps forming inside of your mouth, we will have them biopsied in order to determine if they have cancerous cells inside of them.  You may be able to feel a bump form at home by simply running your tongue along your gum line and the inside of your mouth.
  • Rough patches.  The tissue inside of your mouth is smooth.  If that changes, schedule an appointment.

As a local dentist, we want all of our patients to stay in excellent oral health.  Part of that process is education.  During trips to our office we provide patients with tips and tools they can use at home to prevent infection and identify symptoms of the disease if it develops.


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