You hear a lot about gum disease, but do you understand its consequences? Many people do not realize the effect conditions such as gingivitis and periodontitis can have on their overall health. Without preventive efforts and proper treatment, you could experience severe damage to your gums and even bone loss. Diligent dental habits can help…
Talking to Your Dentist in Phoenix About Oral Cancer
If you believe you may have oral cancer, a general dentistry professional can be one of your most important resources to overcome the disease. There are many signs that this condition is affecting you, so you should speak to a general dentist about possible risk factors. Cancer of the mouth can be painful and can make it difficult to eat or speak. Instead of living with these problems, make sure you visit your dentist. This professional has the training and knowledge to provide the relief you need.
What the dentist will do
Many people think of dentists as people who examine teeth, fix cavities, perform root canals and help with cosmetic dental issues. A dentist can do much more than these. During a semiannual dental exam, the dentist can also screen for oral cancer. The dentist will do this by looking closely at the patient’s gums, tongue, cheeks, tonsils and tissues of the mouth. If the dentist discovers sores or tumors on the mouth, a biopsy would be the next step in the process.
People who are concerned about this disease can speak with the dentist about what signs to look for. The dentist can provide the patient with important information, including what activities often lead to this condition. Smoking and using chewing tobacco are the most common ways people develop cancer in the mouth. Alcohol use and eating a lot of red meats can also increase a person’s chances of getting the disease. People who use and consume these should talk to the dentist about how to eliminate or cut them out from their diet.
Symptoms of oral cancer
The dentist will also explain signs the patient should watch out for that could indicate the person has cancer in the mouth. Painful red and white sores on the gums, the roof of the mouth and other tissues often appear as a result of the disease. Patients with the condition often have a difficult time swallowing. There can also be loose teeth, a hoarse voice or the feeling that objects are stuck in the throat.
Starting a treatment plan
If the dentist determines the person has oral cancer, there is hope for recovery. Early detection can yield positive results. The dentist and patient will discuss the next steps and what treatment procedures make the most sense. The dentist may recommend chemotherapy or radiation therapy, along with surgery to remove any tumors. A combination of these may be necessary. The patient’s overall health and the seriousness of the disease will help decide which treatment will be most effective.
Do not be afraid
If you are nervous about visiting with your dentist, you can feel at ease to know that this professional has your well-being in mind. Your dentist will speak openly about oral cancer and whether you may have the disease. Feel free to ask any question and express concerns you may have about the symptoms, treatment and recovery. Make an appointment today, so you do not put off these important conversations.
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