Why oral cancer screenings are so important for oral health and wellness

Oral Cancer Screening Houston, TXWhile many of us visit the doctor regularly for evaluations to screen for cancers, many don’t think about doing the same with their dentist. Oral cancer is a type of cancer that affects the tissues of the mouth and can have devastating effects if not diagnosed early and treated. At Royal Dental, we welcome patients in the area of Houston, TX to visit one of our eight practices in the community to have an oral cancer screening performed.

The Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings

As with many types of the cancer, the earlier it is diagnosed, the better chances patients have of living a long and healthy life with treatment. Oral cancer may develop in the oral cavity on the tongue, gum tissue, cheek, or throat. Many patients may be unaware that a sore in the mouth is a sign of cancer. Visiting the dentist on a regular basis is a great way to spot the early signs of cancer, especially if that dentist has state-of-the-art tools for diagnostics including the ViziLite Plus.

What is ViziLite Plus?

ViziLite Plus is a unique technology that uses a specialized light to shine into the mouth to make areas of possible cancer more visible. It is combined with a solution that patients use to rinse their mouth. Abnormal tissue is much easier for the dentist to spot and evaluate. Many times, a biopsy sample may be taken of the tissue and sent to a laboratory to check for possible cancerous cells. If diagnosed, patients can then work with their dentist and an oncologist to learn about their treatment options. Using today’s technology to diagnose cancer allows for early intervention and better results!

Schedule a Consultation

Call Royal Dental to book an appointment for an evaluation and oral cancer screening today to catch problems sooner than ever! Contact the front office team at (713) 330-7700 and schedule a visit at any one of our eight convenient locations in the Houston, TX area and surrounding communities. We welcome patients to take charge of their smile and monitor it for health concerns including oral cancer.

Know the Signs & Symptoms of Oral Cancer

oral cancer in houston texas at royal dental usaApril is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. With oral cancer rates on the rise it is important to understand the signs and symptoms that may indicate an oral cancer.

Oral cancer can occur on the lips, inside the mouth, the throat, tonsils, or salivary glands. Oral cancer can be fatal, with a 5 year survival rate of roughly 50 percent. One of the main reasons for oral cancer patient’s poor prognosis is a failure to detect the cancer early. Identifying symptoms of oral cancer is the key to successful treatment.

When Should I See a Dentist?

You should make an appointment with your dentist if you have any unexplained, persistent signs and symptoms that last more than two weeks.

See Your Dentist If Any of the Following Last Longer Than 2 Weeks:

  • A sore in the mouth that does not heal is the most common symptom of oral cancer
  • An unexplained pain in your mouth or ear
  • An unexplained lump in your neck
  • A lump or thickening in the cheek
  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth
  • A persistent sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
  • Numbness of the tongue or mouth
  • Jaw swelling that makes dentures hurt or fit poorly
  • Unexplained loosening of the teeth
  • Unexplained pain in the teeth or jaw
  • Voice changes

In most cases it probably won’t be cancer, but it’s better to be on the safe side and see your dentist. If oral cancer is present, getting it diagnosed as soon as possible will help ensure that any treatment is as effective as possible.

Regular Dental Visits are Key

You won’t always be able to spot the earliest warning signs of oral cancer, which is why regular check-ups with both your dentist and physician are so important. Your dentist is trained to detect early warning signs of oral cancer, so be sure to make regular checkups a part of your life.

If you don’t have a regular dentist, we would like to invite you to come visit us at your local Royal Dental office. We have 7 dental offices in the Greater Houston area to serve you and your family’s dental needs.

Do You Need an Oral Cancer Screening?

Houston oral cancer screeningOral cancer can be effectively treated and even cured if caught early. But diagnosing the disease can be tough considering that warning signs are difficult to detect. In an effort to find bumps, growths, or lesions as early as possible, most dentists include an oral cancer screening in their routine exams.

Consider the Risk Factors

Your biannual dental exams are especially important if you have one or more of the risk factors associated with oral cancer. Be sure to keep your dentist informed about the following risk factors should they apply to your lifestyle.

  • Previous oral cancer diagnoses

    – Patients who have had any form of oral cancer in the past are at risk of recurrence. If you start visiting a new dentist, be sure to disclose past diagnoses.

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)

    – HPV can cause oral cancer, in addition to other conditions. For some age demographics, HPV vaccines are available.

  • Cigarette, cigar, pipe, chew, or other tobacco use

    – Avoid starting to smoke or chew altogether. Or consider quitting if you already smoke or chew. Tobacco use is also linked to oral cancer.

  • Alcohol use

    – Even drinking one beverage per day increases your chances of developing oral cancer. Limit your intake as much as possible for your best chance of remaining cancer-free.

  • Sun exposure

    – If you work or spend extended periods of time outside, remember to use chap stick with SPF protection. Sun damage can cause lip cancer.

What to Expect During a Cancer Screening

Dentists examine the head, neck, and mouth, both internally and externally, for bumps, growths, lesions, skin color or texture changes, and other abnormalities. Parts of the exam may include:

  • Palpating the neck, jaw, thyroid, and lymph nodes

    – The dentist will carefully check the lymph nodes as they’re often responsible for spreading oral cancer.

  • Surveying the lips, cheeks, gums, and tongue

    – Oral cancer most often develops at the back of the tongue. The dentist may use gauze to shift the tongue to thoroughly check the surrounding areas.

  • Checking eye movement and vocal vibrations

    – This step is less common in an oral cancer screening but may be utilized by some dentists.

  • Administering ViziLite Plus treatment

    – Royal Dental uses ViziLite Plus on patients who are at high risk for developing oral cancer. After patients rinse with the ViziLite solution, the dentist shines a specialized light in the patient’s mouth to search the oral tissue for white spots, indicating potentially cancerous cells.

Schedule An Appointment

Preventative care is the most effective way to stay healthy. Feel free to contact Royal Dental for an appointment.

Beat Oral Cancer Before It Beats You

Oral cancer in houston tx | Royal Dental Oral cancer is a very serious medical condition. In many cases, those afflicted have no idea they have oral cancer until it is well advanced. Almost 42,000 Americans were diagnosed with the condition last year, and unfortunately, only 64 percent of those diagnosed have a five-year survival rate. But with early detection, oral cancer is highly treatable.

See your dentist today

Regular trips to your dentist are critical for early detection. Your visit to your dentist will include a thorough discussion of your health history. This is also the time when your dentist examines every area in your mouth for any signs of oral cancer.

Your oral cancer screening will include a visual inspection and assessment of your mouth. It is important that you religiously adhere to this routine to detect oral cancer at an early stage and improve chances of surviving the disease.

 

What you can do during treatment

 

Once there are signs of oral cancer, you may be required to undergo cancer treatment. Some of the instructions given to you will include proper cleaning of the mouth. As you are undergoing treatment, it is important to brush your teeth, gums, and tongue regularly — specifically after every meal and before bedtime. Make use of fluoride toothpaste or any special fluoride gel that is recommended by your dentist.

 

Oral cancer screening in Houston

 

Learn more about our oral cancer screening services using ViziLite Plus. Call us today at (713) 330-7700 to request a consultation with one of our dentists at Royal Dental. We look forward to your visit!

Detect Oral Cancer at an Early Stage

Among the types of cancers, oral cancer is one of the easiest to treat when diagnosed in its early stages. Here at Royal Dental USA, we use ViziLite Plus to effectively detect oral cancers. During its early stage, oral cancer is oftentimes asymptomatic, which means it does not show any signs or symptoms. However, it is still advisable to watch out for the following:

  • Persistent mouth sore
  • Having trouble swallowing
  • Changes in the appearance or feel of the oral tissue (appearance of red or white patches or changes in texture)
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Pain or discomfort in the mouth or ear
  • Lump in the neck (even if it does not bother you)

Doing a self-exam of the mouth

As much as we are advised to do breast self-examinations, it is also important to check how your mouth is doing. During an intra-oral self-examination, or checking the inside of the mouth, you have to examine in the mirror the floor, tongue, roof, cheeks, back of the throat, and lips of your mouth by illuminating it with a flashlight. Look for any changes in color or texture as well as for lumps or any lesions.

When doing an extra-oral examination, feel your jaws as you open and close your mouth, then start moving from behind the ears down to your neck. Also, feel your side neck muscles. Do a grab and swallow of your throat. While doing these, feel for any lumps using firm pressure.

If you notice any unusual changes, consult our qualified dentists at Royal Dental USA right away. Call us at (713) 330-7700 to book an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Know the Symptoms of Oral Cancer

As dental experts, we at the Royal Dental USA facility have to emphasize that oral cancer is, in fact, a condition that we see happening more frequently, but that early detection is key to getting the disease under control. Catching the symptoms early on can be done with oral cancer screening in Houston using ViziLite Plus.

For those patients who do not have an idea of how to tell whether they may already be harboring symptoms of oral cancer, we put together this short guideline to assist you in doing so.

  • A lump is possibly the most widely recognizable cancer marker, oral or otherwise. If you notice a lump in the cheeks, or if you feel like your cheeks are thickening for no apparent reason, get immediate dental attention.
  • Red or white patches on the tongue, gums, tonsils or on the lining of the mouth
  • Mouth sores and other lesions usually clear up in a few days and are common with most environmental changes. If your lesions are persistent and do not heal within a couple of weeks, schedule an appointment.
  • Difficulty swallowing due to a sore throat or difficulty chewing because you are having trouble moving your jaws or your tongue
  • If you experience an unusual numbing of the tongue or other areas around the mouth
  • When you notice that your dentures are becoming increasingly ill-fitting because your jaws are starting to swell
  • If you experience a chronic scratchy or gravelly sensation in the throat that is not responding to typical methods of pain relief

Although these symptoms may look or feel like they could be minor and do not necessarily point to oral cancer, having them checked will be to your benefit. If you have any questions about your symptoms or if you want to schedule a personal appointment to rule out oral cancer, please feel free to call Royal Dental USA at 713-330-7700.

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