TMJ disorder affects millions of Americans each year. The good news is the condition can be treated through non-invasive measures when corrected before the discomfort and tension begin to worsen. This review discusses TMJ disorder and looks at the symptoms of discomfort and tension, focusing on why they occur and how they can be relieved.TMJ…
Oral Cancer Screening During Dental Exam
While many people already know that it is important to visit the dentist twice a year for a professional cleaning and dental exam, not everyone knows that many dentists check for more than just cavities and gum disease. In addition to examining the teeth and gums, it has become standard for dentists to inspect the mouth and surrounding area for any signs of oral cancer. Continue reading to learn more about the symptoms, risk factors and treatment of oral cancers and discover what a dentist looks for during a screening.
Why dentists check for oral cancer during a dental exam
According to the National Institutes of Health, oral cancers are the sixth most common type of cancer in the world, with around 37,000 diagnoses of the condition in the United States each year. Since the five-year survival rate of oral cancer is as high as 75% when detected early, getting screened regularly is essential. Fortunately, oral cancer is often easily detected by simply examining the mouth and surrounding areas. Since dentists already examine patients’ mouths at least twice a year, a dental exam is a great time to check the mouth for cancer and make an early diagnosis.
What does the dentist look for?
Oral cancer can develop in several areas of the mouth and often appears as a sore that will not go away, a white or red patch on the inside of the mouth or a lump in the neck. The dentist will visually examine the inside of the mouth for any of these signs and feel around with gloves for any bumps. The dentist might also feel under the patient’s chin, jaw and neck for abnormalities. As part of the screening, the dentist might also ask about other symptoms of oral cancer:
- Pain or numbness in the mouth
- Difficulty moving the jaw or chewing
- Bad breath that will not go away
- Soreness or discomfort of the throat
- Weight loss
- Swelling in the jaw
- Voice changes
Oral cancer diagnosis and treatment
If the dentist has any suspicions of oral cancer, they will likely perform a biopsy to further test the tissue or refer the patient to a doctor for further testing. If the biopsy sample reveals that the tissue is cancerous, an endoscopy or imaging test can be used to determine the extent.
Depending on the type of cancer found, the location and the stage, there are several types of treatments used to treat oral cancers. Radiation and chemotherapy can be used to kill cancer cells in addition to targeted drug therapy. For people with more advanced cancer, immunotherapy could be prescribed. Surgery may be required to remove a tumor or affected lymph nodes.
While most dentists already include oral cancer screening in a routine dental exam, it is a good idea for patients to ask their dentists to make sure, as early detection is key. In addition to practicing good oral hygiene habits, it is important that patients are aware of the health of the entire mouth and check periodically for any abnormalities.
Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Read our Yelp reviews.
Uncomfortable dentures need professional denture repair. This ensures the proper function, fit, and appearance of your dentures. Ignoring any damage in your dental appliance can cause pain, discomfort, or even infection. If you want to find out the advantages of getting professional denture repair, here are the details.A professional provider of denture repair can enhance…
Are you suffering from a missing tooth? When it comes to single tooth replacement, the solutions are dental implants and dental bridges. Continue reading to learn more!Below is a quick overview of the options for replacing a single missing tooth. Reviewing this information may be helpful to those who have experienced tooth loss.The most common…
Patients can go to a general dentist for esthetic dentistry procedures. Many people want to achieve a younger-looking appearance. This is where esthetic dentistry enters the picture. Esthetic dentistry treatments can improve the look and function of your mouth. If you want to ask your general dentist about esthetic dentistry, here are some good questions.Cosmetic…