When arriving for your appointment, your dentist asks if you’ve been experiencing any problems lately within your mouth, neck, jaw, or throat. Not thinking much of it, you mention there’s a sore on your tongue that won’t go away. As your checkup commences, your dentist performs a thorough examination of your oral cavity, face, and neck. When finished, he explains that the sore on your tongue may, in fact, be a sign of oral cancer. While it’s normal to want to panic, nothing is concrete until it’s been tested and officially diagnosed. This situation is why your dentist strongly urges regular screenings for oral cancer in Englewood.
Why is Early Detection Important?
If this situation mentioned above sounds like an experience you’ve had, you’re probably thankful you saw your dentist when you did. Early detection is the key to successfully treating oral cancer. Too many people die each year because they are diagnosed too late. Once oral cancer can advance and spread, the chances for beating the disease are almost impossible.
Of the individuals who are diagnosed with oral cancer, an estimated 50% live beyond 5 years, which is why early detection is so important. Your dentist is trained to look for anything abnormal that might be a sign of oral cancer. If suspicions arise, he can direct you to the appropriate people who can properly diagnose the problem and begin treating it.
What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
If you think your Englewood dentist is the only person who can look for signs and symptoms, you’re wrong. Yes, they have better tools and equipment, and yes, they know what to look for and observe, but there are a few things you can watch for as well.
- Oral sores that don’t heal or continually bleed
- Lumps or rough spots throughout the mouth
- Red or white patches
- Numbness of the lips or mouth
- Difficulty swallowing, speaking or moving your jaw
- Changes in your bite
What Are the Risk Factors?
Before, the likeliness for oral cancer to appear was in men over the age of 50. Nowadays, that demographic has somewhat changed to a younger crowd of men and women. This is because of the rise in individuals who have been exposed to HPV (human papillomavirus), which is a sexually transmitted disease. But before you start thinking that’s the only way you can develop oral cancer, you should know that there are 200 strains of HPV and only 9 are known to cause cancer.
Other risk factors include:
- Smoking and tobacco usage
- Heavy drinking
- Increased sun exposure
- Autoimmune disorders
If you’re concerned you may have one or many of the signs or symptoms associated with oral cancer, make an appointment to see your Englewood dentist as soon as possible. Also, if you think you may be at risk, talk to your dentist about ways you can change your lifestyle habits and how often you should be screened.
About the Practice
At Tarpon Shores Dental, our team of dental professionals offers high-value, preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry services! We believe in the importance of regular dental checkups and cleanings, and we offer our patients a comfortable experience during their visit. Not only do we check for tooth decay, gum disease, and cavities, but we also screen for oral cancer, as it is highly treatable if detected early. To find out more about us, visit our website or call (941) 474-9548.