What are the Symptoms and Treatment Options for Oral Cancer?

Are you worried about oral cancer? Let our downtown Edmonton dentist take a look. Having a dental checkup is the best way to determine whether you have a simple canker sore or need further medical attention.

Oral cancer can appear anywhere in the mouth, including the tongue, lips, cheeks, gums and throat. It is caused by abnormal cell growth and can become an extremely serious problem if not treated immediately.

Signs of Oral Cancer

You should make an appointment to see your dentist if you observe any of the following symptoms on your lips, cheeks, tongue or throat:

  • A lingering sore that doesn’t heal up and go away with time
  • A lump, multiple bumps or any other change of texture in the mouth
  • White or red patches that don’t go away
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Numbness
  • Problems swallowing
  • Changes in taste
  • Changes in tongue sensation

Identifying Patients at Risk

Although the exact triggers for abnormal cell growth in the mouth are not known, several risk factors have been identified. The following circumstances put you at a higher risk of contracting oral cancer:

  • Smoking cigarettes or cigars
  • Using chewing tobacco
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Family history of oral cancer
  • Previous diagnosis of leukoplakia, or thick whitish patches of skin in the mouth
  • Poor diet
  • Prolonged exposure of the lips to the sun

Diagnosing Oral Cancer

As with all illnesses, the sooner oral cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances of successful treatment. That is why Dr. Joly, your downtown Edmonton dentist, takes a proactive approach in his practice.

During your regular dental checkups and professional dental scaling, Dr. Joly and our dental hygienists don’t just examine your teeth; they note any changes to the oral cavity’s soft tissue and flag any abnormalities that need to be examined further.

If there is any reason to suspect the presence of oral cancer, here is what might take place to confirm a diagnosis:

  • X-rays will be taken at our downtown Edmonton dentist’s clinic, or other non-invasive imaging procedures may be done in hospital.
  • A tissue biopsy may be required.
  • Referral to a medical specialist.

Treating Oral Cancer

If your healthcare team confirms a diagnosis of oral cancer, the treatment may include surgery to remove a tumor or problematic area of tissue. Radiation and chemotherapy may also be recommended.

Take the Steps to Prevent Oral Cancer

  1. Visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
  2. See your dentist right away if you are experiencing pain, discomfort or unexplained swelling in the mouth.
  3. Cultivate good oral health habits. Examine your mouth in order to establish a healthy baseline; be vigilant about any changes. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily.
  4. Make positive lifestyle changes. Drink moderately and quit smoking or chewing tobacco. Make the shift towards a balanced whole-foods diet.

Book Your Appointment with an Edmonton Dentist

The most important thing to remember is that partnering with a dentist you trust can help you prevent many kinds of oral health problems. Contact Joly Dental Care today to book your next appointment. New patients are always welcome.

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