What Is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the tissue of the mouth or throat area. Also referred to as head and neck cancer, this cancer can affect the lips, cheeks, gums tongue, floor of the mouth, and roof of the mouth. As the cancer cells grow they can spread to the jaw, lymph nodes in the neck, or other places in the body.
What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
There can be many signs of oral cancer. Patients experiencing one or more of these symptoms should consult their primary care physician or dentist.
- A mouth sore that does not heal
- Red or white patches
- A lump in your mouth
- Loose teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Problems or pain while chewing and swallowing
- Difficulty moving tongue or jaw
- Tongue, lip, or chin numbness
- Chronic hoarseness
- Ear aches
- Change in denture fit
- Unexplained swelling
Risk Factors of Oral Cancer
There are certain lifestyle risk factors that increases a person’s likelihood or developing oral cancer. This includes chewing and smoking tobacco, alcohol consumption, and a diet low in fruit and vegetables.
Non-lifestyle factors can also increase the risk of oral cancer. This includes patients of a certain age, those with HPV or with a genetic predisposition. Two-thirds of patients diagnosed are 55 or older and men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer.
How Does the Dentist Diagnose Oral Cancer?
During your routine hygiene appointment, your Dental365 dentist will evaluate your mouth for any oral cancer warning signs. We utilize intra-oral photography at each hygiene appointment to reference if there are any changes to the soft and hard tissue between your visits, and will evaluate your mouth for any of the oral cancer warning signs. If there are any areas in question, a follow up will be made for further evaluation, but you should always ask if you have any concerns. Oral cancer can be diagnosed through an examination and an assessment of the patient’s lifestyle. X-rays, MRI, CT scans, and an ultrasound can also be used to aid in diagnosis. If they think it is necessary a small tissue sample, biopsy, will be taken and sent to a pathologist.
Oral Cancer Treatment
Treatment for oral cancer depends on the location and severity of the cancer. A common option is surgery to remove the cancer. Other treatments include radiation and chemotherapy which can be done together. A specialist will discuss options and a treatment plan.
Schedule Your Dental Appointment Today!
You can visit any of our Dental365 locations in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut if you are concerned about oral cancer. Contact us at (844) 365-DENTAL for more information, or to schedule an appointment.