Dental visits save lives: The value of early detection, oral cancer screenings
Our team at Los Alamitos Dental Care plays an essential role in supporting the overall health and well-being of patients from across southern California.
One of the biggest threats to both the health of your mouth and your whole “system” comes from oral cancer. However, cancers of the lips, gums, tongue and other oral tissues can be prevented. Additionally, our six dentists emphasize early detection, such as screenings. By detecting problems early in the disease process, we can intervene promptly. Plus, these treatments are largely more conservative and less traumatic than those for cancers that have already spread to local tissues or distant organs and systems.
Screening for oral cancer is painless and fits in conveniently and easily with your busy schedule and active lifestyle. We will generally clean your teeth and examine your mouth during your regular check-up. During these exams, we are looking for potential trouble signs. These symptoms include:
- Red patches or discoloration
- White patches or discoloration (leukoplakia)Sores that never seem to heal
- Persistent bleeding, swelling, and lumps
We also stay on top of your “whole health.” During these visits, we will ask about any changes to your medical status, which may or may not directly affect your teeth, gums, and oral cavity. It is essential to tell one of our dentists if you have noticed any changes, including:
- Unusual pain
- Sudden numbness
- Persistent sore throat
- Problems swallowing
- Difficulty chewing food
- The sensation that something got “stuck” in your mouth
- Oral appliances or dentures no longer fit as well
- Slurred speech
There are behaviors or changes listed here that we may not know about unless you share them with us. It is also important to contact us about any concerns or changes as soon as possible. Oral cancers are not something you want to wait on; the chances of successfully treating them drop dramatically after cancer has spread from its earliest or localized site.
While these screenings generally occur during periodic visits, patients with risk factors for oral cancer are encouraged to visit us more frequently. The most prominent risk factors are the use of tobacco products and excessive alcohol consumption.
Our team at Los Alamitos Dental Care welcomes your questions and concerns. Call us at (562) 539-0011.