Mouth Cancer Screening and Why It Is Important?
When you next visit your dentist in South Benfleet for a dental examination you might notice that they take time examining all the oral tissues inside your mouth and they may gently lift up your tongue to take a look underneath. The reason why they do this is to examine your mouth for any signs of oral cancer. Mouth or oral cancer can affect the soft tissues in your mouth including the lips, tongue and cheeks as well as the floor and roof of your mouth. It is one of those cancers that produce very few symptoms during the early stages and as a result it can be very easy to miss with late diagnoses being all too common. Obviously this does mean treatment is much trickier and less certain than if the cancer had been detected at an early stage and this is why we take mouth Cancer screening so seriously at South Benfleet Dental Care.
What Are the Symptoms of Mouth Cancer?
There are quite a few common symptoms of mouth cancer which include lumps or bumps in your mouth or swellings or thickened areas of tissue that don’t feel quite right. If you look inside your mouth then it should be a nice uniform colour. With mouth cancer you may develop white or red patches that feel velvety to touch or even patches that are speckled with both white and red. Another common symptom is unexplained bleeding in your mouth or feeling pain or tenderness in any area of your mouth or face or in your neck. Some people experience unexplained numbness in certain areas.
Mouth cancer can lead to a feeling that something is caught right back of your throat and you may find it difficult to chew or swallow comfortably or to speak or move your jaw and tongue. It can cause a change in the way your teeth bite together and even a change in the way your voice sounds as it may become horse or you could develop a chronic sore throat. One of the most frequent symptoms of mouth cancer is having a sore spot or ulcer that fails to heal within a couple of weeks.
If you do have any of these symptoms and feel that something isn’t quite right then we urge you to contact your South Benfleet dentist for a proper check-up. We’d far rather that you were one of the “worried well” than to discover something isn’t right several months down the line.
What Will Happen If Something Is Discovered?
It is unlikely that we will discover anything wrong but if we do then our South Benfleet dentist can take a small sample of cells or will conduct a small biopsy so this can be sent off for analysis. If anything untoward is found, you can be referred to the proper specialists as soon as possible. People who smoke or drinks to excess are more at risk of developing mouth cancer but around a quarter of those diagnosed will have no known risk factors, which is why regular checks are so important.
If you are overdue for a check-up with our South Benfleet dentist, please just give us a call to book your appointment on 01268 793485.