Oral cancer is dangerous, though it can be avoided with simple precautionary measures. Early detection of oral cancer is of utmost importance. Conventional dental care practices might involve watching out for dental cavities, but offices like Buckhead Esthetic Dentistry have advocated for thorough oral cancer screenings for good reason.
First of all, it pays to know what oral cancer is and what it can do given the chance. It is a condition that occurs in any part of the mouth—be it on the tongue’s surface, inside the cheeks, in the gums, on the roof or floor of the mouth (or even both), in the tonsils and salivary glands, and even in the lips. Anyone can develop oral cancer, though it has been more common in people over 40 years old, primarily in men. Research has shown, however, that oral cancer is becoming more prevalent in younger patients and in women as well.
Like any type of cancer, early detection can help a lot in subsequent treatment drives. Many pre-cancers and cancers of the mouth can indeed be found early on, mostly during routine screening exams conducted by a general physician, dental hygienist, or dentist. Several symptoms, unfortunately, do not manifest until they’ve reached a more advanced stage, and can play off as any other condition such as a simple toothache.
Still, to set things straight first, a dental exam doesn’t explicitly diagnose oral cancer outright. Accepted general dentistry practices, however, can identify several suspicious things that may point to it. A dentist from a practice such as Buckhead Esthetic Dentistry can identify warning signs such as lesions, a thickening in the oral soft tissues, soreness in the throat, difficulty chewing, swallowing, and moving the jaw or tongue, or even simple signs such as ear pain.
Along with a standard clinical exam of the throat and oral cavity, a number of dentists and physicians may even use specialized dyes or lights to identify potential problem areas. One method involves the use of toluidine blue, a dye which turns blue over a supposed abnormal area. Laser light is also included, which detects abnormal tissue by reflecting off of it—the resulting light’s color must be different to denote a problem.
Oral Cancer: The Importance Of Early Detection, CitizensVoice.com, June 19, 2015
What Is Mouth Cancer? What Causes Mouth Cancer? What Is Oral Cancer? MedicalNewsToday.com, September 10, 2014
What Is Mouth Cancer? MouthCancer.org
Can Oral Cavity And Oropharyngeal Cancers Be Found Early? Cancer.org
Detecting Oral Cancer: A Guide For Health Care Professionals, NIDCR.NIH.gov