As dentists in Oakville, understanding what is going on in your mouth is a part of our daily life. And there are many conditions we can prevent, detect early, or treat. Most of the time, our purpose for prevention and early detection of issues with your teeth and oral cavity is to help you save time and money. Sometimes, it can help save a life. To raise awareness for Oral Cancer Month, which is held each April, this month’s blog outlines what you can do at home to screen for oral cancer.
The early detection of oral cancer is something we are passionate about. Because so many people avoid dental visits – or think issues will just go away on their own – oral cancer has often advanced before it’s detected. This means the overall survival rate of someone newly diagnosed with oral cancer is just 65%. But, if the cancer is detected early, that rate skyrockets – to 84%. That’s why part of every patient checkup at Oak Tree Dental Centre includes an oral cancer screening.
Oral Cancer Screening
It’s important to know that dental professionals do not diagnose oral cancer. That’s up to the specialists. But because we’re experts in the head and neck, we know how your oral cavity is supposed to look and feel. When something unusual does reveal potential problems, it may result in a referral to a specialist who has the advanced training to give you the best care available. This gives you peace of mind, especially since early detection can save lives.
- Hygienists can perform the exam at your regular cleanings
- It only takes 2-3 minutes to complete an oral cancer screening.
Another important part of the early detection of oral cancer is regular self-exams.
Oral Cancer Self-Exams
The most common symptom of oral cancer is a mouth sore that doesn’t heal. Most mouth sores will heal in about two weeks, so if you have had one for longer, it needs to be checked out. But, don’t despair or panic. There are many reasons for a mouth sore – we’ll help you determine the cause and find a solution.
If you’d like to take a proactive approach with your own health, you can conduct regular self-exams – starting when you’re healthy so you know your mouth tissues look when they are normal. Because most oral cancers begin in your mouth’s soft tissues, you’ll want to examine these regularly with the help of a flashlight and mirror.
Things to look for:
- Red or white patches anywhere in the soft tissues of your mouth
- Mouth sores that easily bleed or don’t heal
- Any changes in colour of your oral tissues
- Indented areas
- Dentures that don’t fit
- Sudden loose teeth without trauma
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing
- Swelling or lumps.
If you notice any of these changes in your mouth, call us. We’ll help you determine if you if you need a checkup and oral cancer screening.
At Oak Tree Dental Centre, we are dedicated to helping our family of patients live their best lives with a healthy smile – and that includes helping you with the early detection of any oral issues – including oral cancer.
Yours in excellent oral health,
Drs. Mohammad & Falak, your dentists in Oakville
P.S. For more information on Oral Cancer, please visit https://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/oral/oral-cancer/?region=on