There is nothing more important to our team at Taylor Dental than the improvement and maintenance of our family of patients’ oral health. We are the foremost authority on oral healthcare, and we use our cutting-edge technology and optimized processes to best deliver beautiful smiles to everyone who sits in our chairs. However, the rise of oral cancers over the last few years shows an alarming trend that we want to help combat in the early stages.
What if we were to tell you there was more at risk than just a beautiful smile? Oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers pose a risk not only to your pearly whites but your overall health as well. There has been an ongoing rise in oropharyngeal cancer cases linked to HPV infection in both men and women, although these cancers are twice as common in males than females. No matter what demographic you fall into, oral cancer is always most effectively treated when caught early. We have the ability to help spot the signs of these cancers before they are able to progress into more serious stages, and we want you to be aware of these signs as well.
Common Symptoms of Oral Cancer
While the trained eyes of our doctors and team can look for signs of oral cancer during your regularly scheduled appointments, there is no one who spends more time with you than you. This means that you need to be on the lookout for certain symptoms if they are persisting for more than two weeks.
Some conditions to keep an eye out for include:
- A sore or irritation that doesn’t go away
- Red or white patches
- Pain, tenderness, or numbness in the mouth or lips
- A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust, or small eroded area
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
If you observe any of these symptoms over a prolonged period of time, it may be wise to schedule an appointment to see us right away. As previously stated, oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers are much more treatable when detected earlier in the process. You know your body well, so if you think that there may be a deeper issue than a few red patches, we encourage you to trust your instincts and reach out to us for further evaluation.
Who Is at Risk?
Oral cancer can affect anyone, but there are some patients who may have a higher risk of oral cancer. People with a high risk of oral cancer may be more likely to benefit from oral cancer screening. Our goal is always to spot this condition early on so we can work to treat it promptly.
Factors that can increase the risk of oral cancer include:
- Tobacco use of any kind, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, among others
- Heavy alcohol use
- A previous oral cancer diagnosis
- History of significant sun exposure, which increases the risk of lip cancer
If any of these risk factors apply to you, you may be vulnerable to an oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer. Keep a close eye on the previously mentioned symptoms so that you can be proactive in your treatment, and we can get you screened for the condition.
Oral ID-Cancer Screening
One of the best ways to detect an oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer before it progresses further is through the use of Oral ID cancer screening. Oral ID is different than traditional cancer screening because it has been engineered to catch precancerous cells that denote oral cancer. Most screenings are only able to detect oral cancer when it is much further along and much more difficult to treat. This allows us to enact preventative measures and figure out what your next steps are before your options become more limited. The further along cancer progresses, the more harmful it is to your overall health and wellbeing.
Oral ID uses tissue fluorescence to identify abnormal lesions, including cancer and pre-cancer, that may not be apparent to the naked eye. Fluorescence technology has been used in the medical field for many years, and in the dental field, it has successfully screened more than 25 million patients in the past decade.