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

Nov
30

What to Ask Your Dentist About Oral Cancer

Posted in Oral Cancer

Cancer is a scary topic.

The most unlikely people can be diagnosed seemingly overnight with the most unpredictable and aggressive diseases known to humans. Annually, oral cancer claims the lives of some 9,000 Americans.

The Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) states that most deaths caused by oral cancer are because they are discovered too late, and NOT because they are too difficult to treat.

Early detection is key.

The goal is not to make you paranoid, but rather to alert you to the potential danger. Bring these questions along with you to your next dental checkup to make sure you fully understand your cancer risk.

“What are my risk factors?”

The likelihood of oral cancer is connected to factors like:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Genetics
  • Lifestyle
  • Immune health

A dental professional will best help you understand your unique situation.

“How might cancer treatment affect my dental health and treatment?”

When caught early, cancer treatment is more effective. Treatment for advanced cases can affect what you eat and even how you brush your teeth. This is serious business, so it’s important to get suspicious areas checked out early.

“What signs should I look for at home?”

Your dentist will let you know how you to carefully check your own mouth and tongue at home. A self-exam will keep you in-tune with your body and be aware of changes as soon as they develop.

“How can I lower my risk?”

An experienced dentist will give you the best tips on keeping your mouth as healthy as possible. You’ll also learn how cancer develops and how to reduce your risk factors.

Find out more by scheduling a cancer screening at your local dental office.

Posted on behalf of:
Precision Digital Dentistry
674 US-202/206
Suite 7
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
(908) 955-6999

Mar
14

Early Warning Signs Of Oral Cancer

Posted in Oral Cancer

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, nearly 45,750 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. Approximately one person dies from oral cancer every hour.  While oral cancer can be greatly prevented with healthy lifestyle choices, early detection remains an important factor in surviving oral cancer.

Maybe It’s Oral Cancer

Sometimes the smallest symptoms can be the first warning sign of oral cancer. The key to early detection is paying attention to your oral health and any changes that persist for several days or weeks and notifying your dentist. Do you know the early symptoms of oral cancer?

  • A Constant mouth sore or ulcer that just won’t heal
  • White, red or a mixture of white and red patches on the gums, tongue or lining of the mouth
  • A persistent lump on your lip, in your mouth, in your throat or on your neck
  • Difficulty or pain associated with chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your jaw and tongue
  • Loosening of the teeth or painful teeth without any obvious dental reason
  • Unusual bleeding, pain or numbness of the tongue or mouth
  • A sensation that a lump or something is caught in your throat
  • Ear pain that doesn’t affect your hearing
  • Sudden, unexpected weight loss
  • Ear or jaw pain that does not resolve itself
  • Voice changes, hoarseness or a persistent sore throat
  • Swelling that causes denture discomfort or poor fit

If you’re experiencing any of these persistent conditions, your dentist may recommend special tests to rule out the possibility of oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Prevention

Your best defense against oral cancer is by making healthy lifestyle choices, such as stopping tobacco use, and having routine oral cancer screenings at your regular dental checkups. Call your dentist today to make an appointment.

Posted on behalf of:
Soft Touch Dentistry
1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 622-5050 

Mar
8

Detecting Oral Cancer Early With a Brush Biopsy

Posted in Oral Cancer

Did you know that approximately one person dies from oral cancer every hour, every day, every year? Of those that are diagnosed, barely more than half will still be living five years after their diagnosis, in great part due to late detection. As the rate of oral cancer increases, early detection becomes more important.

Preventing Oral Cancer

Cancers begin as harmless dysplasia, which are pre-cancerous cells in the thin layer of tissue that surrounds our skin and organs. If dysplasia goes undetected and untreated, cancer forms. The best way to prevent oral cancer is by detecting irregularities early, before cancer growth occurs.

Brush Biopsy

A brush biopsy is a non-invasive, in-office method of oral cancer diagnosis. Detecting oral cancer early, with a brush biopsy, is a four step process:

  1. Detection: Dysplasia of the mouth typically begins as a red, white or mixed colored spot that can be easily overlooked. Small bumps in the mouth are not uncommon, but when they occur without an obvious cause, your dentist may determine that further analysis is necessary.
  2. Brush Biopsy: This simple, in-office procedure, requires no anesthetic and involves rotating a small, circular brush against a suspicious area. Slight abrasion allows the brush to collect cellular material, which is then transferred to a slide for laboratory analysis.
  3. Detection: The material collected is then analyzed in a lab for abnormal cells. Once the analysis is complete, the results are sent to your dentist.
  4. Results: The laboratory report will help your dentist determine the underlying cause of your oral concern. Should unhealthy cells be found, you may be referred to an oral cancer specialist for early treatment.

Routine dental checkups are your best option for oral cancer prevention! Call your dentist today to schedule your appointment!

Posted on behalf of:
Newport Beach Dentistry
1401 Avocado Ave #20
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 644-9181

Jan
26

3 Risks for Oral Cancer That You Didn’t Know About

Posted in Oral Cancer

Cancer is a word that nobody wants to hear or talk about.  When you go to your dentist for a check-up, you are not only examined for cavities and gum disease but you are also being examined for oral cancer (cancer in or around the mouth).  This is another reason why you should visit your dentist regularly.  The key for surviving oral cancer is detecting the disease early.

What Causes Oral Cancer?

Tobacco use in all forms, including cigar smoking, cigarette smoking, pipe smoking or chewing tobacco can definitely increase your risk for oral cancer.  More risk factors of oral cancer include: being a Male, family history of cancer and a previous oral cancer diagnosis.

Did you know that there are more risk factors for oral cancer that you might not have known about?

Here are 3 risk factors that are not well known:

1)    HPV (sexually transmitted infection)- If you have the Human Papilloma Virus or HPV, then you are at risk for oral cancer- especially with some specific forms of HPV.

2)    Alcohol abuse – If you drink a lot of alcohol, it increases your risk for oral cancer.  If you drink lots of alcohol along with smoking a lot, your risk for oral cancer is even greater.

3)    Age- The older you get, the higher your risk is for developing oral cancer especially in people over 40.

Have you recently been to your dentist to be screened for oral cancer?  If not, call your dentist to schedule an exam, including an oral cancer screening.  If your dentist finds any questionable areas, the sooner you find it and treat it, the better.

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. Farhan Qureshi, DDS
5206 Dawes Ave
Alexandria, VA 22311
(703) 931-4544

Jan
25

ViziLite: How it Enhances Your Check-up

Posted in Oral Cancer

A dental exam is important for checking your teeth and the surrounding tissues in your mouth.  A crucial part of the exam is the oral cancer screening.  If caught early, oral cancer can be one of the most curable diseases.  Are there any special tools that are used to screen for oral cancer to help with early detection?  The answer is yes.  It is called Vizilite Oral Cancer Screening.

How is ViziLite used?

ViziLite is tool used by a dental professional to evaluate the tissues in the mouth and to look for any suspicious areas that could be precancerous or cancerous cells.

  1. You will rinse with a solution to help abnormal cells to be visible when a special light is shined on the tissue
  2. Overhead lights are dimmed
  3. A low intensity light is then shined onto the tissues in the mouth to check for any abnormal cells that are visible

What are some benefits of using ViziLite?

  • The exam typically takes 2-5 minutes
  • It can help to detect oral cancer or abnormal tissue at an earlier stage, when it may not be visible to the naked eye in a standard oral cancer screening
  • A small light source is easily used so you can see more areas in the mouth
  • ViziLite is disposable, to help prevent cross-contamination between patients

ViziLite should especially be a part of your dental exam if you have habits that can cause oral cancer such as smoking or chewing tobacco.

Are you interested in Viizilite?  Talk to your dentist and ask if Vizilite is offered in addition to your standard checkup and dental cleaning appointment.

Posted on behalf of:
Soft Touch Dentistry
1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 622-5050 

Oct
27

I Don’t Smoke. Why Do I Need an Oral Cancer Screening?

Posted in Oral Cancer

It’s certainly true that those who use tobacco are at higher risk for oral cancer. Even if you don’t smoke, consider why your dentist performs an oral cancer screening on every patient.

Other Risk Factors

The fact remains that your risk could still be increased by having a history of oral cancer in your family, or even simply by your age. Those over the age of 55 are at higher risk. There are likely many other factors as yet unknown as to how they can cause cancer.

Catching It Before It’s Too Late

Sometimes, aggressive forms of cancer can develop rapidly between regular dental visits. For the most part, however, small signs of cancer can be detected in your dentist’s office before they become large symptoms that you discover at home. The earlier your dentist can find and diagnose oral cancer, the greater your chances become that treatment will be minimal, complete, and the least painful possible. Healing time will be quicker, and chances of the cancer returning will be lower.

A Wise Use of Time

Your dentist could be wasting precious time by screening patients based upon risk factors, alone. If your dentist concluded that you don’t need an oral cancer screening simply because you don’t smoke, he could end up missing a dangerous change in your mouth. The most careful approach is to simply screen all patientsfor potential signs of oral cancer.

Cancer can be a scary thing to deal with. Whenever and for whatever reason cancer rears its ugly head, your dentist wants to prepare you to minimize the effects of cancer by discovering it and treating it as soon as possible.

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. David Kurtzman D.D.S.
611 Campbell Hill St. NW #101
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 980-6336

Jul
24

Is It Oral Cancer?

Posted in Oral Cancer

Have you noticed any unusual developments involving the health of your mouth or throat? Perhaps you have noticed a sign such as these:

  • a sore that won’t heal
  • an unexplained discolored patch
  • difficulty swallowing

You may rightly be anxious – could this be cancer?

The first thing you should know is that if you notice anything at all that you know is out of place, then mention it to your dental care provider as soon as possible. You are at the best advantage to check your mouth each day for changes and abnormalities. In visiting the dentist regularly, you may experience an oral cancer screening. This screening is done by the dentist to check for any unusual patches on oral tissues, or for swollen areas in the lymph nodes indicating infection.

If something is detected which the dentist deems questionable, then he may order a biopsy for the site, just to be certain it isn’t cancerous. Oral cancer can be difficult to locate in its early stages, but the sooner it is found, the easier it is to treat.

Some dentists may even use a special light to detect the presence of cells that are starting to grow abnormally.

You should be familiar with a few factors that may predispose you to oral cancer:

  • excessive exposure to sunlight
  • tobacco and heavy alcohol use
  • any history with cancer

Worrying will not do you any good, but keeping in regular communication with your dental office is the best thing that you can do! Stay alert to any changes you may note, and freely question your dentist. Be proactive, be safe.

Posted on behalf of:
Kennesaw Mountain Dental Associates
1815 Old 41 Hwy NW #310
Kennesaw, GA 30152
(770) 927-7751

May
30

5 Signs of Oral Cancer to Watch For

Posted in Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a very serious issue which directly affects the body’s overall health. Early detection leads to early treatment, which can mean that treatment will be the most effective it can be. It’s essential that you educate yourself on a few signs to be alert to. Symptoms of oral cancer can include the following:

  1. The presence of a sore in or near the mouth that does not heal
  2. Discolored patch on tongue, gums, back of throat, or on the inside of cheeks or lips
  3. Thick or lumpy areas on the inside of your cheek
  4. One or more teeth are suddenly loose, for no obvious reason
  5. Sensation there is something still stuck in your throat after you swallow

One or more of these symptoms may not necessarily indicate the start of malignant cancer, but if they persist for two or more weeks, then it will be especially necessary to visit an oral health care specialist for evaluation.

It is so important that you are alert to possible changes in appearance of tissues in your mouth. This is because the early stages of cancer symptoms are usually not painful. Patients who don’t feel any discomfort usually don’t have any abnormalities to report. Regularly checking your own mouth in a mirror for signs such as those listed above could lead to early detection of a serious problem.

Maintain a regular schedule of visits to the dentist office, so that you will stay informed of your risk for oral disease. In doing so, you will also be more alert to changes in your dental health.

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

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