Getting Past Your Dental Fears And Learning About Technology

Several years ago I decided to take a trip to the dentist after skipping multiple appointments for over 15 years. I truly had a dental anxiety and had a hard time getting over my fears. Thankfully, my dental visit went smoothly with only four cavities identified. What I did find from this dental visit was that there was a great deal of new information and technology that I had been missing out on. Laser-based technology and digital imaging are just a few examples. With this blog, I want you to understand that you can get over your fears and learn about this new technology like I did, so enjoy the information.

The Importance of Oral Cancer Exams

Dentist Blog

Oral cancer presents a grave and potentially life-threatening risk that impacts thousands globally. Despite advances in medical science and increasing awareness, early detection remains a critical factor in successful treatment and prognosis. Oral cancer exams play a vital role in identifying the disease at its earliest stages, which significantly increases the chances of successful intervention and recovery.

Understanding Oral Cancer

Oral cancer includes cancers affecting areas like the lips, cheeks, tongue, mouth floor, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and throat (pharynx). Risk factors include tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, excessive sun exposure to the lips, and a history of oral cancer.

The Role of Oral Cancer Exams

Regular oral cancer exams are essential for detecting the disease in its nascent stages when treatment is most effective. These exams typically involve a thorough dental professional inspection of the oral cavity, head, and neck. Dentists and oral hygienists look for any lumps, irregular tissue changes, discoloration, or sores that do not heal. They may also palpate the mouth and the neck to detect abnormal masses or growths.

Early Detection Saves Lives

The early detection of oral cancer significantly improves treatment outcomes and overall survival rates. Patients diagnosed with early-stage oral cancer have a high survival rate, whereas the rate drops dramatically as the disease advances. When caught late, oral cancer can spread to other parts of the body, making it much more challenging to treat.

What to Expect during an Exam

During an oral cancer exam, your dentist or oral hygienist will conduct both a visual and physical examination. You will be asked to open your mouth wide, allowing the practitioner to inspect all areas of your oral cavity thoroughly. They will use gloved hands to feel your throat, jaw, and neck. In some cases, specialized tools or dyes may be used to identify abnormal areas not easily seen with the naked eye.

Importance of Regular Screening

It's recommended that adults undergo an oral cancer examination at least once a year, especially those with high-risk factors. Regular dental visits increase the likelihood of catching potential warning signs early. In between visits, individuals should also conduct self-examinations and report any unusual symptoms, such as persistent sores, pain, lumps, or difficulty swallowing, to their healthcare provider immediately.

Promoting Oral Health Awareness

Raising awareness about the importance of oral cancer exams is crucial. Public health campaigns and educational initiatives can help inform people about the risks and encourage regular screenings. Dental professionals should also actively communicate the importance of these exams to their patients during routine visits.

Learn more from a dentist near you like Dr. Jon Douglas Lesan, DDS, RpH, PA.


5 June 2024