In 2013 oral cancer resulted in 135,000 deaths up from 84,000 deaths in 1990. While the survival rate is on average at 57%, a patient with oral cancer is much more likely to survive if the cancer is caught early. During your routine dental checkup, we check your mouth and the surrounding area for any signs of abnormalities or precancerous conditions. When abnormalities are found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time a patient experiences symptoms, the cancer may have begun to spread.
During your visit, we’ll talk to you about your health history and any potential risk factors for oral cancer. You will be asked to remove any dentures or partials. The dentist then inspects your neck, throat and inside of your mouth. In some cases, we use a special dye to look for abnormalities. Regular visits can improve the chances that any suspicious changes in your oral health will be caught early. You can also be on the lookout at home for any of the following:
- a sore or irritation that doesn’t go away
- red or white patches
- pain, tenderness or numbness in mouth or lips
- a lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
- difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw
- a change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
If you do notice any of these symptoms, give us a call right away to make an appointment.