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The month of April is dedicated to oral cancer awareness. The American Cancer Society estimates that around 51,000 people in the United States will get oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancers in 2018.

Sadly, it is predicted that 10,030 Americans will die because of these cancers.

Early detection of oral cancer is crucial to your survival, and at WhiteWing Dental, we have made it our duty to provide the necessary solutions for detecting and treating any serious conditions. But it is just as important that patients do their part and schedule regular dental checkups with their dentists.

@AmericanCancer est. 50,000+ people will be diagnosed w/oral cancer in 2018 #DentalCheckUp #BeatTheOdds Click To Tweet

The Importance of a Dental Checkup

A dental checkup is so much more than what you expect. Dentists aren’t just examining teeth and gums to check for gingivitis or cleaning them to ensure you have the brightest smile possible. Dentists are also performing various tests to check if you are at risk of developing oral cancer.

The sad truth is that these oral cancers are often fatal because they aren’t detected early enough.

Routine dental checkups at our McAllen dentistry can mean early detection and treatment. Don’t put off your dental checkup. If you can’t make it, reschedule for a date sooner or shortly after the original checkup date. If coming into the office gives you anxiety, we’ve got you covered there too with our sedation dentistry services.

Don’t leave it up to chance. Get checked and watch out for these symptoms.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

In between dental visits, there are many types of symptoms of oral cancer that one may experience. Being aware of what they are can prove to be vital for early detection and treatment.

While it may be easy to dismiss some of the minor symptoms as nothing serious – such as a tooth infection or even something like the flu – the American Academy of Oral Medicine suggests that if symptoms persist for longer than two to three weeks, you should consult with a medical professional (i.e. dentist) immediately.

Oral cancer is most common in people around the age of 62 but can occur in young people, too. While it is rare for young children to develop it, a little over one-quarter of those diagnosed with oral cancers are under the age of 55.

Symptoms to watch for:

  1. Sore throat.
  2. Hoarseness.
  3. Numbness around the face, in the mouth, or on your neck.
  4. Bleeding in your mouth.
  5. The feeling of something stuck in your throat.
  6. Lumps in your mouth or on the lips.
  7. Red, white, or mixed patches in your mouth.

During a dental checkup, your dentist will search for any of these symptoms. Some of the key areas that they may focus on are:

  1. Your tongue.
  2. Your tonsils and oropharynx.
  3. Your gums.
  4. The floor and other parts of your mouth.

If the dentist suspects that you may have oral cancer, they may order a biopsy to verify the diagnoses. From there, treatment options will be discussed.

Oral cancer affected more than 45k people in 2016. Don’t become a statistic. #WhiteWingDental Click To Tweet

Treatment for Oral Cancer

There are a lot of steps regarding the treatment of oral cancer but most often surgery is required to remove any cancerous tissues or cells. In addition to surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be needed to help kill off any cancer cells that remain.

It is also highly recommended that if you use any tobacco products, you stop immediately. Failure to do so stymies the healing process and also increases the risk for oral cancer to resurface.

April is here. If you haven’t set up a routine teeth cleaning or oral cancer screening, now is the time to do it!

Don’t let fear or forgetfulness keep you out of the dentist’s chair. One dental checkup is all you need to save your life. To schedule your dental checkup, contact us at (956) 686-5577 today!