Nobody likes talking about any type of cancer. It’s a scary epidemic that continues to take the lives of thousands each and every year. Oral cancer, specifically, is a fairly common type of cancer in the United States with over 45,000 cases diagnosed every year. Of those diagnosed, about 9,700 will lose their battles with the disease. At our Douglasville dental office, we want to take time during Oral Cancer Awareness Month to educate our patients and neighbors on the risk factors and signs of oral cancer, and why it’s so important to catch it early.
The Importance of Early Detection
Oral cancer is very treatable when caught early, which is one of the reasons that maintaining appointments with your dentist is so important. In between your dental visits, it’s best to know the early signs of oral cancer so you’re able to seek treatment quickly.
Recognize the Signs
Oral cancer can develop anywhere from the lips, tongue, and cheeks to in and around the throat. But sometimes diagnosis can be tricky. A lot of oral cancer symptoms can easily be mistaken for other problems. If you recognize any of these signs, call your dentist in Douglasville immediately to schedule an oral cancer screening:
- Chronic bad breath
- A sore or several sores that don’t go away
- A lump on the cheek
- Difficulty swallowing
- Changes in your voice
Know the Risks
There are several lifestyle and hereditary factors that can increase someone’s risk of developing oral cancer. Please know that while these are common risk factors, anyone can develop oral cancer even if none apply to them.
- Gender: Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women.
- Age: The majority of oral cancer patients are over the age of 55 and on average, most people are diagnosed at 62.
- Tobacco: Nearly 80% of oral cancer diagnoses are in tobacco users.
- Alcohol: About 70% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are heavy drinkers.
- Tobacco & Alcohol Combo: Those who use tobacco and drink heavily have a 15 times greater risk.
This Oral Cancer Awareness Month, take control of those risk factors that you CAN change and quit smoking, chewing tobacco, or using alcohol excessively. If you have other questions about oral cancer, call our dental office in Douglasville.
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Sometimes we get asked why certain patients have more difficulty getting numb before a dental procedure than other people. At our dental office in Douglasville, we wish we could provide one, solid answer as to why this happens. But the truth is, the reason can vary from person to person, and even from dentist to dentist.
Reason #1: It’s Not You, It’s Us
While nobody likes to admit when they’ve made a mistake, the truth in everything is that mistakes do happen. Including during administration of a numbing agent. Most dentists have more than enough experience, training, and education to get it right most of the time. But if we miss, please know that we don’t like giving you additional injections any more than you like receiving them. We will always do everything possible to keep you relaxed, comfortable, and free of pain during each and every visit, even if we do need to give it another shot (pun intended).
Reason #2: It’s Not Me, It’s You
Now that we’ve established that your Douglasville dentist may accidentally miss the mark, we need to talk about why it’s so important for you to stay as still as possible during the injection. If you flinch or jump, there’s a chance the anesthetic won’t hit the right spot. We know it’s not what anyone really wants to do, but we promise to make it as quick and painless as possible.
Your body can also be the anti-numbing culprit in a variety of ways. First, some people react to the numbing agent differently, and their bodies remove it from the system too quickly. If this happens, you may not get numb at all or only numb for a small period of time. Another possible explanation could be your anatomy. While we know pretty much exactly where each nerve is supposed to be, sometimes we find a patient whose nerve positioning is shifted slightly. So when we think we’re hitting the spot right on, we’re actually not.
Reason #3: It’s Neither of Us, It’s Your Nerves
If you have a tooth that hurts a lot, your nerves don’t behave like they normally do. Sometimes known as a ‘hot tooth,’ an area that’s particularly painful could have nerves that are either overactive or have actually added on additional receptors. Whichever may be the case, both situations require more anesthetic and could make it more difficult to become numb.
We never want our patients to be uncomfortable while in our Douglasville dental office. If you’ve had trouble getting numb in the past, please let us know. We’ll go out of our way to ensure you’re completely relaxed and pain free at all of your visits.
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