A lot of people think they don’t need a trip to the dentist unless they have a toothache. We know the Joondalup lifestyle can be hectic, but we recommend seeing the dentist every six months for a checkup, whether or not your teeth hurt.
One of the big reasons for having regular checkups is the chance of having oral cancer. When we give you a checkup, we not only check your teeth for decay and other problems, we also check your mouth for signs of cancer. If we find any of the warning signs, we can then do a more extensive, focussed examination to determine whether or not you have oral cancer.
Some Risk Factors
There are many risk factors for oral cancer: tobacco use, sun exposure, alcohol use, the HPV virus and previous incidence of cancer anywhere on the body are all accelerated risk factors for oral cancer.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Some symptoms of oral cancer can be spotted in the mirror, but it is always recommended to go to the dentist on a regular basis. Patches that are white, red or any mixture of those colours can be a symptom of oral cancer. So can loose teeth, bleeding, a sore on the mouth or lips that doesn’t heal, denture problems, swallowing problems, bumps or lumps on the neck and earaches.
Diagnosis of Oral Cancer
Dentists diagnose oral cancer by considering your history in combination with a physical exam. To make sure, a biopsy is done on the suspected area. Occasionally, a PET scan, a CT scan or an MRI may be necessary.
Treatment of Oral Cancer
Treatment of oral cancer is similar to that of cancer anywhere on the body: chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery are all options. Side effects of treatment can include, pain, fatigue, difficulty chewing or swallowing food, sore throat, dry mouth, tooth decay, denture problems, infections and bleeding.
This and many other issues are part of Dental Health Week, celebrated this year from 3-9 August. For more information or to schedule an appointment for a checkup with one of our dentists in Joondalup, call us today:(08) 9404 9500