34,000 people a year are diagnosed with oral cancer, and 7,500 die from it. Just half of those diagnosed survive five years, according to the American Cancer Society. A typical oral cancer is life-threatening "largely because it is detected too late," says Richard Price, consumer adviser for the American Dental Association (www.ada.org).
Symptoms of oral cancer can include:
- Patches inside the mouth that are white, red or a mixture of red and white.
- A sore on the lip or in the mouth that will not heal.
- Bleeding in the mouth or loose teeth.
- Difficulty or pain when swallowing or difficulty in wearing dentures.
- A lump in the neck or an earache.
The cornerstone of oral-cancer detection is an exam performed by your dentist or hygienist during a regular checkup. It should include the following:
- Look and feel inside the lips and the front of the gums and the roof of the mouth.
- Pull the cheeks out to see inside surfaces and back of the gums.
- Pull out the tongue and examine its surfaces and bordering areas.
- Feel for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, including under the lower jaw.
In addition to the above oral cancer exam at DesertSmiles Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry, we offer the Vizilite Plus for cancer screening. Vizilite Plus is a simple, painless exam that gives the best chance to find any oral abnormalities at the earliet possible stage, and save your life.
It is recommended patients age 18+ be screened annually using the Vizilite Plus exam.
For more information about the Vizilite product, or cosmetic and restorative dentistry in the Phoenix and Glendale areas visit our website at www.DesertSmiles.com.