Many people find themselves avoiding the doctor or dentist out of fear. They are worried that the doctor will “find something,” so they choose simply not to make appointments. While this fear is understandable – no one wants to learn that something is wrong with their health – the decision to not visit the doctor or dentist is also a significant factor in declining health. You see, visiting the dentist on a regular basis allows your dentist to identify anything that is “off” regarding your oral health. Your dentist checks your mouth for a variety of issues, and s/he is able to spot the first signs of serious concerns. One such concern is oral cancer.
Cancer can be a devastating diagnosis to receive. Despite the advancements in treatments, cancer still has a high death rate across the world. Yet, as with most diseases, when cancer is caught early, it can often be treated successfully. Oral cancer is no exception. At every dental visit, your dentist will check your entire mouth: your teeth, your gums, your tongue, your cheeks, the palate and floor of your mouth, and your throat. Your dentist is able to get a much better, more expansive view of your entire oral cavity than you can achieve in front of a mirror. Because of this, your dentist can often spot the tiniest sign of oral cancer – much sooner than you would ever be aware of.
Growths of any kind inside the mouth are generally noticeable once they become large enough to see or feel. Unexplained bleeding inside the mouth, numbness of the lips, tongue, or cheeks, as well as a constant feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat are all relatively obvious signs that something is wrong and need medical attention. Yet, your dentist knows of many other not-so-obvious signs of oral cancer:
- A change in the sound of your voice
- Chronic sore throat
- Ear pain
- A change in how your dentures fit inside your mouth
- Significant weight loss
The symptoms of oral cancer can vary a great deal, and many signs of oral cancer are not obvious to anyone other than your dentist. Keeping regular dental appointments is not just good for your smile – your dentist can save your life.
Contact Riverheart Family Dentistry today to schedule your next routine appointment.