Know The Signs of Oral Cancer
Every year, April is recognized as Oral Cancer Awareness Month. At our dental office in Lawrenceville, we strive to keep our patients and our neighbors as healthy as possible, so we’d like to join in and help educate our community on the risks of oral cancer, how to identify it, and why it’s best to identify it as early as possible.
- About 49,000 Americans will be diagnosed with a type of oral cancer this year alone
- Over 9,700 will die from oral cancer in 2017
- Only an estimated 57% of those diagnosed this year will still be alive in 5 years
- Patients who have beaten oral cancer once are up to 20 times more likely to develop another form of cancer
One of the main reasons oral cancer is so deadly, and those numbers above are so scary, is that most of the time, oral cancer is caught too late and may have already spread to another part of the body. Unlike other types of cancer, there are no official timing guidelines for screening for oral cancer, like there are for, say, colon or breast cancer. This is one reason why we recommend seeing your dentist in Lawrenceville at least every six months for a thorough examination. If caught in its early stages, oral cancer can be treated successfully.
Signs & Symptoms
The difficult part to suspecting and diagnosing oral cancer is that its signs and symptoms can disguise themselves as other oral health problems that don’t seem like a big deal, only a minor annoyance. If you notice any of the signs below, call your dentist as soon as you can.
- A sore or discoloration that doesn’t go away after two weeks
- A lump inside the mouth or neck
- Pain while swallowing, chewing, or speaking
- Changes in voice
- Chronic bad breath
Understanding the risks that increase the chance of developing oral cancer can go a long way in helping to prevent it. While some risk factors are uncontrollable, there are some that you can control and avoid:
- Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer than women
- Oral cancer typically develops in those over 40
- About 80% of oral cancer patients are, or have been, tobacco users
- Drinking alcohol heavily also increases your risk
If you suspect you’re at risk for oral cancer or have additional questions, we welcome you to call our Lawrenceville dental office.
Now accepting new patients from Lawrenceville, Hamilton and beyond.
Some of the treatments we offer at our dental office in Lawrenceville require us to administer an anesthetic to first numb the area prior to beginning the procedure. We do everything we can to keep the process easy, comfortable, and totally pain free so that you become nice and numb and don’t feel anything during treatment. However, sometimes we encounter patients that have more trouble getting numb than others. We’d like to explain a few possible reason as to why this happens.
Nerves on Fire!
Well, not literally on fire, but in the dental world we do refer to a really painful tooth as a ‘hot tooth’ since the pain feels like it’s on fire. In reality, it’s not actually the tooth that’s making it hurt so badly, it’s the nerves. When there’s a case of ‘hot tooth,’ nerves can become particularly difficult to numb for a few reasons. First, the nerves can be overly excited and even the smallest thing can send zingers of pain shooting. When in this excited state, nerves require more anesthetic than usual. The nerves can also develop additional pain receptors. More receptors means more anesthetic, more anesthetic means more difficulty getting numb.
We know we’re asking a lot — don’t move while we inject the anesthetic into your gums — but trust us, staying still makes the process easier and reduces the risk of needing to do it again. We promise to do everything we can help you relax and make the process as painless as possible. If you’re nervous, talk to us. We’re here to help.
The Head Bone is Connected to The…
Years of education and training has taught your Lawrenceville dentist exactly where to administer an injection to directly hit the nerve in order to achieve optimal numbness. Sounds great, right? Well, even though we’ve all got anatomy that’s pretty similar, it is just that — pretty similar. Meaning that not everyone is built the same way, and sometimes the nerve isn’t where we expect it to be. If we miss and you don’t get numb, we’ll have to try again.
If you’re new to the area and are looking for a dentist, we welcome you to call our Lawrenceville dental office to schedule a visit. At your first appointment, let us know if getting numb has been a struggle in the past and we’ll work with you find a solution that helps make getting the care you need comfortable.
Accepting new patients from Lawrenceville, Hamilton and the surrounding areas.