- A Quick Guide To… -
The team at Heathwood Dental is committed to oral (mouth) cancer screening; it is performed routinely as part of every dental examination we do, whatever the patient age. We have undertaken extensive training allowing us to identify, using magnification and a bright light, any abnormalities that might affect the areas where oral cancer occurs: the lips, gums, palate, tongue, floor of mouth, cheeks and throat structures.
So why is this screening so important?
There are several risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing oral cancer, although 25% of cases occur in people with no identifiable factors:
Signs and symptoms of Oral Cancer
There are many things to look out for, with the following information courtesy of the Mouth Cancer Foundation:
These are things to look out for:
Ulcers that do not heal within 3 weeks
Pain or discomfort in the mouth
Lumps and swellings of no obvious cause in the mouth or neck
Bleeding from the mouth or throat
Red or white patches inside the mouth
Changes in texture; hardness, roughness
Teeth that become loose
Difficulty or pain with swallowing, chewing or moving the jaw
Persistent hoarseness or changes to the voice
Persistent coughing or the feeling that something is ‘stuck’ in the throat
Numbness or tingling of the lips or tongue
Unexplained weight loss
Dentures that suddenly stop fitting properly
When examining the skin on the face and neck, check for:
Moles and spots that get bigger, become hard or start to bleed
Changes to the colour or texture of the skin
Heathwood Dental Practice
1 Kings Road, Crowthorne,
Berkshire. RG45 7BF
That’s quite a list but remember the mouth is prone to all sorts of damage. We bite ourselves, burn ourselves with hot food and drink and damage the inside of our mouths with spicy foods or scrape it with hard things. Bleeding gums and loose teeth are commonly caused by gum disease. Many people are prone to mouth ulcers (never lasting more than 3 weeks).
Skin conditions like lichen planus can cause ulceration, changes to texture and white patches and infection with thrush and other microorganisms are common. Most dentures become loose simply because they are old. Pain in the mouth is often due to toothache or abscesses. The chances of the signs and symptoms above being due to cancer are low but we all know our own bodies’ best so if you have ANY SUSPICION THAT SOMETHING MAY BE WRONG contact your dentist or doctor IMMEDIATELY.