Parkcrest Dental Group is proud to offer comprehensive dental services to the Springfield area. One thing our doctors watch for in our patients is oral cancer. That’s because early signs of oral cancer, if detected, can lead to early treatment before it becomes a problem. Our dental clinic in Springfield discusses the importance of oral cancer screening in today’s blog.
What a Dentist Looks For
During every dental exam at our office, our dentists do a cursory check for cancerous sores or patches of skin. These sores may appear as red and white splotches that are a different color than the rest of your mouth. At this point, the staff of our dental clinic in Springfield may suggest a follow-up visit for a future date. This is to see if the sores or patches of skin have gotten better or worse. If the dentist believes the sores have expanded, he may do a more advanced test with blue dye or even order a biopsy.
Sores Aren’t Cancer Yet
It is important to find lesions as soon as possible because they are more easily removed. Sores may occur on the lips, cheek, gums, tongue, and back of your throat. They’re typically red or white splotches. Advanced oral cancer may impact the jaw bone, teeth, cheeks, or other parts of your face. Oral cancer might appear as a sore that won’t go away, pain or numbness, a rough or crusted area, difficulty chewing, or a change in the way your mouth closes. The goal of our Springfield dental clinic is to spot oral cancer early enough to prevent symptoms from worsening.
Cure Rates Decrease Over Time
A majority of oral cancers that reach advanced stages are very hard to cure. Stage 1 or 2 oral cancer has a five-year survival rate of 70 to 90 percent. Once oral cancer spreads to the rest of your body, the five-year survival rate drops to 38 percent. Surgery is the most common treatment at the early stages, and sores and lesions are easy to remove because they are small and isolated to one part of the body. Cure rates and survival rates are the main reason why our Springfield dental clinic performs regular oral cancer screens.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
Some people have a higher risk of oral cancer than others. The staff of our dental clinic in Springfield will keep an eye on any signs for oral cancer if you have the following risk factors:
- Tobacco use of any kind, including smoking and chewing tobacco
- Heavy alcohol use
- HPV (human papilloma virus) infection in the mouth
- Previous oral cancer diagnosis
- History of significant sun exposure
Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer, and most cases are in people over 50 years of age.
Oral Cancer Screening & Our Springfield Dental Clinic
If you have concerns about oral cancer and oral cancer screening, talk to the staff of our dental clinic in Springfield. Parkcrest Dental Group has a caring staff who listens to your concerns about oral health. We’ll also give treatment recommendations that are right for you. Our goal is for you to have the best oral health possible! Contact Parkcrest Dental Group or call (417) 887-1220 for more details or if you have questions.