Importance of Early Detection

KarenK

Karen Kelley RDH

Importance of Early Detection

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and, as dental professionals, we want our patients to understand the significance of routine oral cancer screenings.  When you get your teeth cleaned, the dental hygienist or dentist will look at all the areas in your mouth, including your tongue. They will also check for any swelling along the neck.  We do this on every patient regardless of age or habits.

Another way to identify a possible oral cancer lesion is to be aware of what is in your own mouth.  Look at your tongue, the tissues of your cheeks and around the teeth.  If you notice something like a red or white patch, take note of the appearance.  If the lesion doesn’t go away after 2-3 weeks, go see your dentist for his opinion.  He may check the area again after 2-3 weeks or he may refer you to a specialist to have the area evaluated.

“There is much that can be done for those who are diagnosed with head and neck cancer. Since early detection and treatment is critical, it’s important to see your dentist regularly and to promptly see a medical professional if there are any warnings signs,” — The Oral Cancer Foundation

Oral cancer symptoms:

Persistent mouth sore: A sore in the mouth that does not heal is the most common symptom of oral cancer

Pain: Persistent mouth pain is another common oral cancer sign

A lump or thickening in the cheek

A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth

A sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat that does not go away

Difficulty swallowing or chewing

Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue

Numbness of the tongue or elsewhere in the mouth

Jaw swelling that makes dentures hurt or fit poorly

Loosening of the teeth

Pain in the teeth or jaw

Voice changes

A lump in the neck

Weight loss

Persistent bad breath

Again, if you notice any of these things, come into the office and get things checked out.  The earlier oral cancer is identified, the better the outcome.

 

 

oral-cancer-infographic-1-638

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.cancercenter.com/oral-cancer/symptoms/?source=GOOGLPPC&channel=paid+search&c=paid+search%253AGoogle%253ANon+Brand%253ABroad%253Asigns+of+oral+cancer%253ABroad&OVMTC=Broad&site=&creative=42231931401&OVKEY=signs+of+oral+cancer&url_id=190254693&device=c&gclid=CIXk0IDm3sQCFUWVfgoduEYAJg

http://oralcancerfoundation.org/understanding/risk-factors.php

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Sharma RDH

Sharma Mulqueen RDH

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

OC Awareness

Early detection is key with oral cancer. When found early, oral cancer patients can have an 80 to 90% survival rate. Unfortunately 40% of those diagnosed with oral cancer will die within five years because the majority of these cases will be discovered as a late stage malignancy.

Oral cancer is particularly dangerous, because the patient may not notice it in its early stages. It can frequently prosper without producing pain or symptoms. As a result, Oral Cancer often goes undetected until it has already metastasized to another location.

Who does oral cancer screenings?

Most oral cancer screenings are done by a Dentist or Hygienist. It is very important at all of your dental appointments you have a screening completed.

When should I have my first oral cancer screening?

More people are being diagnosed with oral cancer than ever before. But surprisingly, research shows this increase is not due to the traditional risk factors of drinking, smoking and using chewing tobacco. Rather oral cancer is now being found in a younger population of men and women because due to their exposure to the HPV (Human Papillomavirus). That is why the Center for Disease Control recommends that all patients over the age of 17 be screened annually for oral cancer.

What types of screenings are there?

A routine “recall” exam usually includes a visual search for lesions and abnormal structures in the oral cavity with palpitations on neck, throat, tongue and cheeks.

The Identafi system uses the Identafi Multi-Spectral Fluorescence and Reflectance technology to enhance visualization of mucosal abnormalities such as oral cancer or premalignant dysplasia that may not be apparent to the naked eye. Unlike other fluorescence technologies and dye systems, the Identafi is Multi-Spectral with three distinct color wavelengths, making it easier to distinguish lesion morphology and vasculature.

Identafi System

The VELscope® Vx system is an adjunctive device which means it must be used together with and as a supplement to the traditional intra and extra oral head and neck exam. Unlike other adjunctive devices used for oral examinations, the VELscope® Vx does not require any dyes or prolonged testing procedures. In fact, a VELscope® Vx exam can be performed during a routine hygiene exam in about two minutes at your dental office.

Dentists, Hygienists, Periodontists, Oral Surgeons, Primary Care Physicians and Otolaryngologists now have the technology to detect morphological and biochemical changes which may lead to oral cancer and potentially save lives, thanks to the Identafi® and VELscope® Vx systems.

Where do I go if there is any concern with my screening?

You will be referred to an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons where they will check for lesions and abnormal tissue structures and perform a biopsy.

Oral Surgeons are not front-line detectors, because their patients are typically referred by dentist and other medical professionals as a primary source for cancer diagnosis and treatment.

OC Happens

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Source:

http://www.identafi.net/tools

http://www.dentalez.com/products/stardental/identafi/

http://www.velscope.com/velscope-technology/overview/

What is Normal?

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Becky Larson RDH

In my short time as a dental hygienist I have had many patient ask me about “weird” things they have noticed inside their mouths. Many patients are worried or scared they might have oral cancer. While oral cancer should be checked regularly, many times the things patients are worried about are completely normal. In general, most mouths have the same or similar anatomy. However, there are variants of normal that one person may experience over another. I have listed a few of these normal variants here:

Tori: A torus or tori (plural) is simply an excessive growth of normal compact bone, either on the floor or roof of the mouth. They develop gradually and are asymptomatic. Tori can grow into many different shapes and sizes and are covered by the normal soft tissues of the mouth. Tori may make taking radiographs very uncomfortable or painful. No treatment is needed unless the patient is having problems speaking or swallowing. Even upon removal tori may grow back.

 

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http://images.radiopaedia.org/images/551480/4e2fd78cc550f4e33c48c0a31a8c64.jpeg

 

Fordyce granules: Fordyce granules are simply a cluster of sebaceous glands (glands that secrete oil, similar to a pimple) inside the mouth. Usually they occur on the inside of the cheeks or on the lips. They are yellow in color and more than 80% of adults over the age of 20 experience them. Fordyce granules are also asymptomatic and do not require treatment.

Lingual varicosities: Lingual varicosities are veins under and on the sides of the tongue. They can be red, blue, or purple in color and generally occur in clusters. Everyone has veins in and around the tongue that may vary in size, shape, or color.

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http://classconnection.s3.amazonaws.com/107/flashcards/2728107/jpg/lingual_varicosities-142CFA6D1EC5BDDC9F0.jpg

 

Linea alba: Linea alba is a raised, white line usually along the inside of the cheek. It occurs as a result of clenching or biting the inside of one’s cheek. No treatment is necessary.

Luekoedema: Leukoedema is a generalized opalescent appearance of the inside of the mouth. It most commonly occurs in black adults but can be seen with any ethnicity. When the mucosa is stretched the opalescence is less noticeable. No treatment is necessary.

Amalgam tattoo: Believe it or not, I have seen tattoos inside the mouth! However, an amalgam tattoo is a little different. These “tattoos” result from previous amalgam (silver) fillings where part of the filling material seeps into the tissue. It creates a bluish-gray lesion and they can occur anywhere an amalgam filling has been placed. Amalgam tattoos can look very similar to oral cancer because of their color. A biopsy can determine the difference. Amalgam tattoos generally do not require treatment.

 

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http://drjohnart.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Amalgam_Tattoo_in_the_association_with_an_upper_molar-400×461.png

 

Fissured tongue: Believed to be a result of familial genetic patterns, this variant is seen in about 5% of the population. It involves deep fissures or grooves on the dorsal (backside) of the tongue. Sometimes the tongue can become irritated if food or bacteria remain in the grooves for an extended period of time. No treatment is needed other than brushing the tongue to remove food/bacteria from the surface.

Fissured_tongue[1]

 

http://doctorspiller.com/images/OralAnatomy/Fissured_tongue.jpg

 

Geographic tongue: Geographic tongue appears as small, red patches on the dorsal (backside) of the tongue that are surrounded by a yellow or white perimeter. The appearance is similar to that of landmasses on a globe, hence the name “geographic” tongue. The patches may go away and return again in different areas. Stress can be a contributing factor to this condition. No treatment is needed.

Geographic-tongue-5[1]

 

http://medicalpicturesinfo.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Geographic-tongue-5.jpg

 

   Make sure to be aware of what is inside your mouth. We recommended oral cancer screenings at least once per year.

As always, please go see your physician if you experience any of the following:

  • Spots, lesions, or discolorations that remain longer than 2 weeks that were not previously present.
  • Any changes is size, shape, or color to pre-existing lesions.
  • Anything that causes you pain or that your dentist recommends getting checked

Happy Oral Cancer Awareness Month!

Want to learn more? Visit us at http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

Information taken from:

Ibsen, O., and Phelan, J. (2009) Oral Pathology for the Dental Hygienist. St. Louis, Missouri: Saunders Elsevier.