Cancer in any form can be frightening and difficult to manage. But when caught early on, the chances of successful treatment can improve. Knowing how to spot the early signs of oral cancer in Gouverneur, NY, can help you know when it’s time to seek medical treatment. Many factors, such as tobacco use, can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. However, if you keep an eye on your oral health and visit your dentist regularly, you could catch oral cancer before it develops too far.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can be a little tricky to spot. Some of the symptoms of oral cancer also overlap with other dental concerns. For example, a stiff and painful jaw can be a sign of oral cancer, but it’s also a common symptom associated with TMJ disorder. If you notice any problems in your mouth, a visit to your dentist can help determine what the problem is and how to treat it.
Common early signs of oral cancer that you should look out for include:
- A lesion in the mouth that is not healing
- Thickening of the inside of the cheek
- White or red patches in the mouth or on the tongue
- Numbness in the tongue
- Difficulty chewing or moving the jaw
- Swelling in the jaw or neck area
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your dentist right away to schedule an exam.
The Role of Your Dentist in Oral Cancer
While many dentists don’t treat oral cancer themselves, they still play a vital role in your diagnosis and treatment.
Identifying Oral Cancer in Gouverneur, NY
During your routine exam, your dentist will perform a series of visual and tactile tests to check for signs of oral cancer. This can include actions such as visually examining your eyes, neck, ears, and lips, as well as feeling under your chin and around your neck for any swollen lymph nodes. If your dentist notices anything concerning, they may refer you to an oral cancer specialist for a further exam and diagnosis.
Maintaining Oral Health During Treatment
While being treated for oral cancer, it’s crucial that you maintain your oral health. However, treatment can make it more difficult to keep up with a good hygiene routine. Your dentist can help recommend additional products or cleaning methods that could help preserve your oral health while undergoing treatment.
Restoration After Treatment
Oral cancer can cause your teeth and gums to suffer damage in a variety of ways. After treatment is complete, your dentist may recommend a treatment plan to help restore your smile. This could include anything from adding veneers to brighten your teeth or installing dental implants to replace missing teeth.
Catching oral cancer early on is the best way to help increase the chances of successful treatment. If something hurts or feels off in your mouth, call our office today at (315) 203-1772. Dr. Gardner will perform a thorough examination of your mouth to determine what the issue is and what treatment is available.