Oral cancer affects over 50,000 Americans a year, making it a severe condition that is relatively common. There are a multitude of reasons why someone might develop oral cancer – one of the more common ways is due to smoking. People who do smoke are putting themselves 3 – 5 times more at risk for oral cancer than non-smokers, therefore we, and (hopefully) every other dental office, strongly discourages this habit.
When you come in for an appointment, we will ask you certain questions to determine if we should do an oral cancer screening. Questions such as “how often do you smoke?” and “ what are your drinking habits like?” are what you can expect. It is important to be honest with us so that we can care for your oral health accurately and effectively – at River Run Family Dentistry we are here to help, not judge!
What to Expect During An Oral Cancer Screening
An oral cancer screening involves checking for notable signs of the condition. Even if you actively have not developed it yet, there are signs that point towards the development of it happening. We are going to look for sores, lumps, and red/white patches inside the mouth. We will also ask you additional questions such as if you have had any difficulty swallowing or any lingering pain in the mouth.
To make it easier to spot signs of oral cancer, we will use a blue dye to help us locate tissue with compromised cells. In addition to this, we may shine a special light that makes compromised tissue appear white. Oral cancer screenings are highly effective in spotting the condition, the earlier it is caught, the better the chance of a smooth treatment.
How Oral Cancer Is Treated
There’s are multiple ways of action to help treat oral cancer. These methods range from surgical procedures, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and targeted drug therapy. Depending on the circumstances, it may be a multi-step process using multiple of these methods.
Preventing Oral Cancer
If you feel that you are at risk of developing oral cancer, it is incredibly important to take the steps required to ensure that this does not happen to you. If you are a smoker or drink heavily, getting the help you need to quit is hard at first, but it gets better. We work with patients going through the same thing and we do our best to set everyone on the right path for both their oral health and physical health – because what can happen to your mouth can also affect your overall health.
Practicing positive brushing and flossing habits on a daily basis also helps significantly in preventing oral health problems such as oral cancer. Following the standard brushing twice a day and flossing once a day rule will go a long way in ensuring you have a lifetime of a healthy mouth!
At River Run Family Dentistry, we are highly committed to making each patient feel at home when they walk in. If you would like to schedule an appointment with us, you can call our office at 830-387-3040. We hope to see you soon!