Dental Tips Blog

Nov
30

What Your Dentist is Looking for During an Oral Cancer Exam

Posted in Oral Cancer

You’ve just sat down for your dental checkup, and your dentist seems to be looking all over your mouth…and even around your neck…but not your teeth. What on earth is going on? Did you pop by the wrong office?

No. It’s just that your dentist is set on conducting a thorough oral cancer screening. You see, most people don’t realize that you can be extremely healthy, never use tobacco products, and still be at risk of developing this extremely deadly disease.

Early diagnosis of pathological or precancerous tissues is the very best way to treat it, because therapy can be started sooner.

That’s why your dentist is looking for signs of:

  • Cellular changes in the appearance of your soft tissues…especially in the floor of the mouth, on your palate, and along your tongue.
  • Sores that don’t seem to heal, or tissues that look different than those around them.
  • Swelling or lumps along the lymph nodes in your head and neck.

Oral cancer is something that can affect just about anyone. Risk factors include everything from tobacco use and sun exposure to viruses like HPV. That’s why it’s impossible to know whether or not you’re ever completely in the clear. Your dentist will need to include your oral cancer screening as part of your bi-annual or yearly checkup.

If you haven’t ever had an oral cancer exam or don’t remember the last time you did, let your family dentist know. Finding this pathology on your own is extremely difficult to do, until the cancer reaches advanced stages. An exam could save your life!

Posted on behalf of:
Park South Dentistry
30 Central Park S #13C
New York, NY 10019
(212) 355-2000

May
2

Advanced Oral Cancer Screenings Could Save Your Life

Posted in Oral Cancer

There are simple oral cancer screenings and there are advanced oral cancer screenings. In a traditional oral cancer screening, your dentist or hygienist conducts a thorough visual examination of the soft tissues inside of your mouth, around your face, and palpation of your soft tissues (including lymph nodes.) Unfortunately, there can still be microscopic tissue changes that are not yet visible for diagnosis. That’s why many dentists are choosing to implement advanced oral cancer screening systems into their routine patient exams and preventive care appointments.

Advanced screening systems typically use a solution and special light to mark visual changes that occur at a cellular level inside of the mouth. For instance, if a certain solution is applied to the gum tissues, normal tissue will appear one color and abnormal tissue will appear another, when viewed under the screening light. If abnormal tissues are noted, they may be checked in 2 weeks for a follow up, or a biopsy may be recommended. One of the greatest benefits is the ability to pinpoint cellular changes before they are visible on the surface of the tissues.

Early diagnosis offers the best defense against diseases like oral cancer. The earlier the condition is identified, the more effective (and less invasive) the treatment response can be. Unfortunately many people simply wait until it is too late before having a suspicious area checked out by their dentist, increasing the mortality rate of this deadly disease.

You don’t have to be a smoker or drinker to get oral cancer. In fact, even some viruses are known to cause it. Everyone should consider having an advanced cancer screening annually to help protect their smiles and their lives.

Posted on behalf of:
Juban Dental Care
8564 Jefferson Hwy
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
(225) 927-8663

Jan
28

Dental Check Up for Oral Cancer

Posted in Oral Cancer

Did you know that some 42,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year in the United States alone? And according to the Oral Cancer Foundation, nearly half of those newly diagnosed will not make it the next five years.

The main reason for the poor prognosis is this: most patients are not diagnosed until it is too late and the cancer has already metastasized to other parts of the body.

Those at risk for oral cancer – also known as mouth, tongue, tonsil or throat cancer – include heavy smokers, heavy drinkers and the elderly. More recently, scientists have discovered a link between oral cancer and HPV 16, or human papilloma virus number 16. Usually transmitted sexually, HPV has also been linked to cervical cancer.

Concerned about their patients, most dentists conduct oral cancer screenings during routine checkups. This consists of checking all areas of the mouth, front to back, for any signs of cancer. These can include:

  • sores in the mouth that do not heal
  • Lumps in the cheeks that do not go away
  • White patches on the tongue, gums or sides of cheeks
  • Swelling in the mouth or throat
  • Persistent hoarseness or pain anywhere in the mouth

Of course if any of these symptoms start to occur in between visits, you should contact your dentist or doctor immediately. Also, it is important to remember that having one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have oral cancer, as other diseases and infections may have similar symptoms. In any case, a trip to the dentist’s office is warranted if you notice anything unusual in your mouth.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Mitul Patel 

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Oct
9

Oral Cancer Screening

Posted in Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can be a deadly and disfiguring form of cancer and periodic screening for oral cancer should be undertaken, as a regular part of every routine dental visit.  This is especially true if the patient has a history of tobacco use, including both cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco.  As with all cancers, the early detection of the disease, as well as the aggressive treatment of the cancer is critical to the long-term survival of the patient.  There is fast, effective and economical test that is completed within minutes and gives immediate results.

One of the available tests involves placing a liquid in the patient’s mouth with the patient “swishing” it around inside of their mouth for several minutes.  The liquid, which has no real taste, is then spit out and the dentist will use a special light to look inside of the patient’s mouth.  Any abnormal areas on the inside of the mouth, tongue or gums will show up under the light, as the liquid acts as a “dye” to highlight the abnormal area.  While the dentist also performs a normal visual inspection of the entire mouth as well, the test allows the dentist to identify areas of concern, before they would ever be visible to the naked eye.  Any abnormal areas are documented and the patient is then referred to a specialist for determination of the abnormality, biopsy and aggressive treatment options if necessary.

Oral cancer screening should be a routine part of every dentist visit.  It is a quick, highly effective and economical method to identify oral cancer early so that appropriate steps can be taken.

Posted on behalf of Dr. David Janash, Park South Dentistry

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Mar
8

Oral Cancer Screening

Posted in Oral Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with some sort of oral cancer each year. Perhaps even more alarming is this statistic: Of those newly diagnosed, a little more than 50 percent will still be alive in five years. The problem, experts say, is not so much that oral cancer is difficult to diagnose, but more often than not, it is diagnosed in the later stages of the disease.

Some warning signs of possible oral cancer include:

– Small red or white patches of tissue in the mouth

– A lump or mass in the mouth or neck

– Pain or difficulty swallowing

– Prolonged hoarseness or trouble forming words

– Numbness in the face or mouth

– A persistent ear ache

Your dentist can perform an oral cancer screening during a routine dental checkup. She will typically do a thorough physical examination, first, to look for any red or white patches or canker type sores in the mouth. If your dentist finds abnormal tissue, she may then opt for one of the following procedures:

Toluidine Blue Stain – The mouth is stained with a blue dye that shows possible cancerous areas to be darker than others. 

Fluorescence Staining – Lesions of the mouth are examined after the patient rinses with a special fluorescent mouth wash that highlights abnormal patches when light is shined on it.

Exfoliative Cytology –  The dentist will use a swab or stick to gently scrape cells from the lips, tongue, mouth and throat. The cells are viewed under a microscope to spot any abnormalities.

Brush Biopsy – A more invasive procedure, the dentist uses a brush to collect cells from the lesion itself.  The cells are then viewed under a microscope to confirm a cancer diagnosis.

If you have never been screened for oral cancer or if it has been awhile since your last screening, now might be a good time to give your dentist a call and ask for one. Early detection, after all, could in fact save your life.

Feb
18

Oral Pathology Services

Posted in Oral Surgery

Most people think of oral surgeons as specialists who care for patients with impacted wisdom teeth or implant therapy needs. Oral surgeons also offer oral pathology services to patients with pathology such as suspicious oral lesions or oral cancers.

Oral pathology does not appear the same in texture or color as the natural tissues around it. Most oral mucosa (skin) is smooth and light pink in shade. Areas of concern may be those that:

  • Are different in appearance from the same area on the opposite side of the mouth
  • Red or white patches that are abnormal in shape or size
  • Sores in the mouth which do not heal within 2 weeks time
  • Lesions that do not have a smooth border or texture to them
  • Lumps or hard areas that are not normal
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Loss of voice that does not return

Not only are areas inside of the mouth of a concern, but other areas of head and neck pathology that is often detected by a dentist include the lower lip or lymph nodes in the neck and cranium. Tobacco and alcohol use may place patients at an increased risk to develop pathologies such as oral cancer in their mouth.

Your personal physician may refer you to an oral surgeon if you have an unexpected or abnormal lesion of the head, neck or mouth. If your dentist identifies an abnormality it may be possible to do a biopsy or other tissue evaluation to determine if the pathology is serious or not. If the tissue isn’t healthy or normal, you can visit an oral surgeon to have the area removed, as well as discuss any other treatment necessary due to the anatomy of the pathology.

Early intervention and diagnosis is important for comprehensive dental care. Having areas examined as soon as possible allow for better treatment, especially for serious problems like oral cancer.

Posted on the behalf of Mountain View Oral Surgery & Dental Implants

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