The American Dental Association (ADA) has been working in collaboration with OralCDx Laboratories for the past three years promoting public awareness for Oral Cancer. One very important step in this process is making sure that dentists and dental professionals are on-board and taking an active role in their practice’s knowledge and understanding of what Oral Cancer is, and how it can be reduced. An eminent step is early prevention and detection of Oral Cancer.
Our South Florida Cosmetic Dentistry Team is dedicated to making sure that each and every patient that comes into our office, whether it be for a large cosmetic treatment or a routine hygiene cleaning, is educated on, and offered Oral Cancer detection tests. According to the ADA, “it is now easier than ever to detect oral cancer early, when the opportunity for the cure is great. Only half of all patients diagnosed with oral cancer survive more than five years.” (www.ada.org)
Here are some of the important things that you should know:
- Oral Cancer can begin as a tiny, unnoticed white, or red spot, or sore anywhere in the mouth.
- Oral Cancer most often occurs in those who use tobacco in any form (chewing tobacco, cigarettes, pipes, etc.)
- Alcohol use combined with smoking greatly increases risk.
- Oral cancers can occur in people who do not smoke and have no other known risk factors.
- Prolonged exposure to the sun without any sunscreen can increase the risk of lip cancer.
- Oral Cancer is more likely to strike after age 40.
- Studies suggest that a diet high in fruits and vegetables may prevent the development of potentially cancerous lesions.
- It can affect any area of the oral cavity including the lips, gum tissue, check lining, tongue and the hard or soft palate.
Other warning sign can include:
- A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal.
- A color change of the oral tissues.
- A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area.
- Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips.
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue.
- A change in the way the teeth fit together.
Oral Cancer Screening is something that should be emphasized as a part of every dental hygiene visit and checkup by the dentist. At South Florida Cosmetic Dentistry, we make strong recommendations on why we believe each patient should get tested. In our office, we use the ViziLite testing kit. This is just one of many methods that dental offices can use to detect early signs of Oral Cancer.
Most dental insurance companies will not cover an Oral Cancer Screening Test, but at $65, it is considerably inexpensive for having peace of mind. If you would like to find out more information on how you can get tested at South Florida Cosmetic Dentistry, call our office or email us today!