Oral Cancer Screenings: Early Detection Means Lasting Dental Health By Dr. Charlie Porter on October 23, 2014

A happy couple sits together outsidePatients in the greater Charlotte area can count on Dr. Charles A. Porter for providing excellent dental health. He offers advanced general dentistry services that emphasize dental health and total wellness. This includes routine maintenance and screenings for major dental health problems, such as the early signs of oral cancer. Let's take a moment to consider the nature of oral cancer right now.

Types of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer refers to any kinds of cancers that affect the various parts of your mouth, such as your tongue, your throat, your salivary glands, your jawbone, and so forth. You may recall that the late film critic Roger Ebert suffered from thyroid cancer and salivary gland cancer, which eventually resulted in surgical removal of his lower jaw.

Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common form of oral cancer that people suffer from. It is estimated that around 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, 57% of whom are expected to survive five years after diagnosis.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancers

The most common signs and symptoms of oral cancer are abnormal growths, sores, and lesions within the mouth that do not clear within two weeks. These sores can be painful, and they can occur on the gums, the tongue, the palate, the insides of the cheeks, or the lips.

Other potential signs of oral cancer include persistent dry mouth and chronic bad breath. These symptoms could suggest a more serious problem of some kind, especially if they occur in conjunction with sores that do not heal.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

The biggest risk factor for oral cancer is smoking and the use of tobacco products. It is estimated that three-fourths of all oral cancers are linked to smoking and chewing tobacco. This is just another compelling reason to quit smoking or using chewing tobacco or simply not starting to begin with.

Screening During Regular Dental Exams

Oral cancer detection tends to begin with regular dental exams. Your dentist will note any sores or lesions in your mouth that may look amiss and then run additional tests to examine the affected tissues.

If you have noticed any issues with sores, pain, discomfort, dry mouth, or other potential signs of a health problem, be sure to discuss them with your dentist. By bringing these matters of concern to your dentist's attention, you can receive the treatment you need as soon as possible.

Early Detection Is Important

If the oral cancer is not addressed promptly, there is a chance that it may spread and affect the lymph nodes before moving on to other parts of the body. This is why it's important that you remain attentive about potential signs of oral cancer and speak with your dentist during your dental visits.

Keep In Touch with Your Dentist

Remember that you dentist should be alerted about potential health issues as they arise. Even if your next dental visit is a few months away, do not hesitate to get in contact with us should you have any concerns related to a sore or lesion. Better to be safe than sorry given how serious these kinds of issues can be.

Schedule a Consultation for Dental Care Treatment

To schedule a visit to our practice and learn more about your options for advanced dental care treatment, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. Dr. Porter and the team here looks forward to your visit and helping you achieve the best dental health and wellness possible.

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Dr. Porter

Charles A. Porter III, DDS and Robert E. Porter, DDS

Dr. Charles Porter implements the latest developments and highest standards in dentistry. Working alongside his father, Dr. Robert Porter earned his DDS at UNC Adams School of Dentistry. He is certified in Spanish, and will gladly use Spanish throughout your visit if that makes you feel most comfortable. Our doctors are members of several prestigious organizations, including the:

  • American Dental Association
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • North Carolina Dental Society

To schedule your consultation, contact our Charlotte office online or call us at (704) 364-9000.

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