When it comes to diagnosing and treating oral cancer, the team at our Ridgewood, NJ dental practice takes these matters very seriously. We use advanced oral cancer screening techniques, always focused on early detection to help our patients as soon as possible.
While in-office exams are accurate and can save lives, patients themselves can do a lot when it comes to early cancer detection. Below are some common signs and symptoms of oral cancer, as well as a few key risk factors to keep in mind.
Any recurring sores or sores that do not go away could be the sign of a health problem, potentially oral cancer. Note any odd growths around the lips, gums, tongue, or throat and be sure to discuss these with your doctor or dentist.
Swelling and Thickened Soft Tissue
Sometimes oil cancer first appears as an odd swelling of the mouth, or changes in the thickness of the soft tissue of the mouth. This can be alarming if the changes in soft tissue do not go away. Be mindful of such changes.
Red and White Lesions
Red lesions or white lesions appearing in patches inside of your mouth are a serious sign that something is wrong. If it is not the first signs of oral cancer, it could be a warning of another medical condition that requires immediate attention.
Sensation of an Object in Your Throat
Small, unwanted growths may not be immediately visible, but you may be able to feel them. A persistent sensation that something is present in the back of your throat is often a good indicator that you are experiencing some sort of medical condition.
Sore throats can come can go as part of regular colds throughout the year. A persistent sore throat or a particularly bad sore throat that does not go away could be a symptom of early oral cancer. Make sure it gets checked out.
Numbness or Pain in the Mouth
Various growths and medical problems that impact oral health can lead to pain, sensitivity, or numbness in the mouth. If you notice these sensations combined with other symptoms, consult a doctor as soon as possible.
Temporary dry mouth is common, and it can usually be eliminated with a glass of water and a moment of calm. Yet sometimes a precancerous growth or cancerous growth can block your salivary glands, resulting in persistent dry mouth.
Ill-Fitting Dentures and Bridges
If your gums swell or develop growths, this can impact the fit of dentures and other oral appliances. Be sure to consider how your denture or bridge is fitting if you also notice the symptoms listed above.
Problems Swallowing or Speaking
As pain and discomfort affect the health of your mouth, normal functions can be affected. You might notice issues swallowing or speaking, and these may be signs of cancer beginning to develop.
Difficulty Moving Your Jaw or Tongue
We mentioned growths that block the salivary glands. These are serious, to be sure, but growths can also develop around the jaw joint or around the tongue, impacting movement. Keep this in mind if you also notice lesions and growths.
Pain in the Ear Area
Cancerous growths around the back of the mouth or the jaw joint may led to pain felt in the ear. These earaches may accompany issues with jaw movement. If not oral cancer, it may be the sign of a TMJ disorder or joint problem that requires attention.
If your overall dental health seems fine but you notice your teeth are feeling loose, this is worth having checked out. This could be an early symptom of oral cancer, or perhaps the sign of another serious medical health issue.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
In addition to the above symptoms, be extra-diligent if any of these risk factors apply to your lifestyle and current circumstances:
- Use of tobacco products
- Alcohol consumption
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Excessive sun exposure
- Poor oral hygiene
- Poor diet
Contact Ridgewood Dental Associates
To learn more about the early signs of ora cancer and what you can do about them, be sure to contact Ridgewood Dental Associates. We will perform a full examination and work with you to ensure you receive the treatment you need as soon as possible.