Visiting our dentist in Grantham
Oral cancer refers to cancer that occurs in the mouth and the back of the throat. Oral cancer is most commonly detected by our dentist in Grantham, so regular visits to us at the Dental Health Centre are extremely important to identify any signs of oral cancer at its earliest stages.
What is oral cancer?
Oral cancer can develop on the tongue, on the tissue that lines the mouth and gums, beneath the tongue and at the back of the mouth. It usually occurs in people above the age of 40 and is more common in men than women. Most oral cancers are caused by the consumption of tobacco, excessive alcohol use and infection caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). However, other factors that contribute to the development of oral cancers include poor oral hygiene, an unhealthy diet, old age and prolonged exposure to the sun.
What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
There are many signs that can indicate you may have oral cancer, so it is best to contact our dentist in Grantham as soon as you think you are presenting any of the following symptoms so that they can make a proper diagnosis. Symptoms may include but are not limited to sores or lumps in your mouth, lips or throat, white or red patches inside your mouth that do not disappear within two weeks, sudden difficulty in speaking, chewing or swallowing, difficulty in moving your jaw or tongue, swelling of the jaw that makes wearing dentures uncomfortable and numbness in your tongue and mouth.
How is oral cancer diagnosed?
Oral cancer can spread rapidly, so it is pivotal that it is detected as early as possible. Our dentist in Grantham can carry out an oral cancer examination to detect any early signs during a regular dental check-up. The examination takes a few minutes and is generally comfortable, which is why we highly recommend booking regular appointments with us so that we can distinguish any signs of cancer you may not have noticed. If you suspect you may have signs of oral cancer, it is best to notify our dentist during your appointment so that we can thoroughly check your mouth, neck and lips for any possible signs.
How is an oral cancer screening carried out?
Our dentist can carry out different combinations of oral cancer screening techniques such as visual examinations, screening dyes and palpation. The process is fairly quick and can be performed during a routine dental appointment.
During a visual examination, the dentist will look out for any lesions that may be present in your mouth and throat; more significantly, they will look for areas that are abnormally red or have thick white patches. Palpation is the process of the dentist using their fingers to feel for any lumps or bumps in your neck, jaw and around your face; abnormal lumps or bumps in this area can be a sign of tumours, and you may have noticed them yourself, in which case it is important you flag this up with our dentist so we can have a thorough look. Oral screening dyes are often used to coat any lesions with a blue dye; this helps to identify areas that are more likely to become cancerous.