Early detection is the key to the successful treatment of oral cancers, so we are the first line of defense. Every exam at Westmoreland Family Dentistry will include a thorough screening of your head, neck, and mouth, for pre-cancerous lesions, or early signs of oral cancer.
What is oral cancer?
Oral cancer is a common cancer that has a high mortality rate if it is not caught in the early stages. Early detection is key, so regular dental visits are very important. It affects all parts of the mouth, tongue, and lips.
What are the signs of oral cancer?
The following are signs of oral cancer. Make an appointment immediately for a thorough examination if you suspect a problem:
Small, white, or red spot or sore anywhere in the mouth, including the tongue, lip, gum tissue, cheek lining, the hard or soft palate, or other mouth area.
Often pale, but can be dark or discolored.
A deep, hard-edged crack.
Often initially painless.
Could eventually cause a burning sensation or pain.
A sore or lesion that bleeds easily or does not heal in two weeks.
Any part of the mouth that changes in color.
A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust, or small eroded area.
Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips or tongue.
Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue.
A change in the way the teeth fit together or the fit of your dentures.
A sore throat or a feeling like something is stuck in the throat.
How can Westmoreland Family Dentistry help?
Our team at Westmoreland Family Dentistry is the first line of defense because regular dental visits are an opportunity to examine your mouth thoroughly. Not only are regular dental visits part of good oral hygiene that reduces the risk of oral cancers, but dentists are often the ones who detect oral cancers first. Ask us to discuss oral cancer screening with you at your next visit.
What can I do to reduce the risk of oral cancer?
Tobacco use is, by far, the biggest cause of oral cancers. All the following may help reduce your likelihood of oral cancers:
Quitting or reducing smoking and smokeless tobacco use.
Quitting or reducing alcohol consumption.
Practicing good oral hygiene.
Regular dental examinations.
Yearly cancer screenings for soft tissue in mouth.