Mouth Cancer Screenings: Why Your Dental Check-up Could Save Your Life
Did you know that regular mouth cancer screenings form an important part of your regular dental check-up? Our dentist in Ladbroke Grove will normally carry out this screening every year. It is quick, painless and non-invasive and simply involves our dentist looking at all your oral tissues using a special hand-held scanning device. The use of a scanning device makes it easy to spot any small changes that are often invisible to the naked eye as these tissues will fluoresce slightly differently compared to healthy tissues.
We are looking for any tissues that might have become thicker or which have changed texture or colour, or for any sore spots or lumps and bumps that shouldn’t be there. It’s unlikely that we will find anything wrong, but if we do spot something that requires further investigation then we can soon take a small sample of cells which will be sent off for analysis, or we can refer you to a specialist.
This test has the ability to save lives. One of the problems with oral cancer is that often the early signs can be overlooked and unfortunately the cancer may not be diagnosed until it is well advanced and far more difficult to treat. It’s likely your Ladbroke Grove dentist is the only medical professional who has a chance to look inside your mouth at regular intervals and dentists are specially trained to spot any early symptoms. So what are the possible signs that something is wrong?
Common Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Common signs include areas of numbness in your mouth or areas that have become more painful or tender. It can cause persistent sores that do not heal easily and which may bleed frequently. It could feel as if you have something stuck in your throat and chewing and swallowing or even speaking or moving your jaw could become trickier. Mouth cancer can lead to a persistent sore throat and the pain can even affect your ears. You might notice any dental appliances fit slightly differently or that the way your teeth bite together has changed. Changes to the appearance of your mouth include the development of white or red patches that may feel velvety to touch and this cancer can cause the development of lumps, bumps and swellings.
Who Is Most at Risk of Developing Mouth Cancer?
Men, particularly those aged 50 or older are more likely to develop mouth cancer than women. Other risk factors include smoking, as smokers are six times more likely than people who don’t smoke to develop mouth cancer. People who use smokeless tobacco products are also far more likely to develop mouth cancer affecting their cheeks, gums or lips. If you use alcohol to excess, you are more at risk than a non-drinker. Other risk factors include a family history of cancer, exposure to the human papilloma virus (HPV) and excessive exposure to sun when you were young. In spite of this, around a quarter of people diagnosed with oral cancer have no known risk factors, which is why regular screenings with your Ladbroke Grove dentist are so important.
If you feel a lump or bump in your mouth or are ever worried that something might be wrong then just give us a call so we can arrange an appointment for you with one of our dentists. Please don’t take the risk of ignoring any possible symptoms. Are you are overdue for a check-up? Please contact Ladbroke Grove Dental Care to book your appointment on 020 7727 9836. Alternatively you can book online at www.LadbrokeGrovedentalcare.co.uk.