Oral cancer is a relatively common disease that refers to a number of different cancers of the mouth. Although the specific causes are unknown, there are a number of risk factors related to diet and lifestyle. There are also a variety of treatments for the disease, depending on the location and stage of the cancer.
Spotting oral cancer and treating it early is often key. The sooner you start fighting the disease, the less likely it is to spread. Regular dental cleanings and checkups are an important tool in that fight because they give dental professionals the chance to scan for tumors and other potential signs of cancer. They also allow patients the chance to discuss any oral health issues that they’ve been experiencing.
At Pearl White Dentistry, Dr. Natalia Benda-Celenski and her team provide a full range of dental services for patients throughout Fort Lauderdale. That includes everything from routine checkups and cleanings and other preventive dentistry to cosmetic and emergency dental services.
Like other cancers, oral cancer occurs when DNA mutations cause certain cells to continue to grow and divide. When that happens, it can cause a tumor to form inside a person’s mouth or on the lips. It is not exactly clear what causes oral cancer, but medical professionals have identified a number of risk factors. They include:
People can reduce their risk for the disease by curbing smoking and drinking and protecting their lips from the sun. They can also go a long way in warding off oral cancer by regularly seeing a dentist.
The good news is that there are a variety of treatments available for anyone diagnosed with mouth cancer. Treatment starts with first determining the stage of the cancer and whether it has spread.
Common treatments include:
It is vital to consult a medical professional to consider the various available treatments.
It is estimated that approximately 40,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. Oral cancer symptoms can vary between individuals, but typically, those affected will show similar signs. Some of the most common symptoms of mouth cancer include:
Oral cancer can affect anyone at any age. Generally, men have a higher risk of developing oral cancer than women, especially seniors over the age of 50. However, there are certain factors that can increase the chances of developing mouth cancer. Common risk factors include:
During an oral cancer screening, Dr. Natalia will examine your mouth and throat to look for any sign of sores as well as discolorations in your gums and oral tissue. We may also use a VELscope, an instrument that utilizes a fluorescent light, to detect lesions in the mouth that may not be visible to the naked eye. We may also take a sample of the lesion or saliva for further testing.
While oral cancer screenings are precautionary, depending on our findings, we may recommend further testing or refer you to a specialist for further evaluation. Often, cancerous cells can be removed through surgery. Radiation or chemotherapy may also be recommended to eradicate the cancer and prevent it from spreading or returning.
The sooner oral cancer is caught, the better the prognosis for the individual and the higher the likelihood that the cancer will respond to treatment. At Pearl White Dentistry, your oral health is our primary concern. Through regular oral cancer screenings, we can determine your risk of developing mouth cancer and recommend the best course of action to both prevent and treat the cancer.
If you are dealing with discomfort in your mouth, looking to prevent dental issues or address specific problems, contact Dr. Natalia Benda-Celenski and her team at Pearl White Dentistry. We are experienced dental professionals who are dedicated to assisting our patients and brightening their smiles. We work with a wide range of insurance plans and are happy to discuss the various patient financing options.
Contact us online, call us at (954) 491-8812 or email us to schedule an appointment with a dentist today.