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Oral Cancer – Early Detection Is Key

All About Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is one of the rarer types of cancer. If you haven’t heard about it, chances are it’s because it represents only about three percent of all cancers. On average, about 50,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Though it may not be common, it is extremely important to be aware of. Knowing the signs and symptoms of oral cancer to watch for can help in early diagnosis.

In this brief overview, we’ll explore the basics you need to know about oral cancer and prevention.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can cause a wide array of problems within the mouth. Some common symptoms include white, red, or speckled patches in the mouth, swelling or bumps on lips, gums, or cheeks, bleeding in the mouth, numbness or loss of feeling, and more. Some people with oral cancer also experience sores in their mouth or difficulty chewing or swallowing.

Symptoms of oral cancer can overlap with many other less serious conditions. However, if you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, it is important to talk to your dentist. Oral cancer is treatable if caught early. Therefore, patients should not delay seeking medical advice if they’ve noticed any of these symptoms.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

Men are at a higher risk of oral cancer. Some research indicates they may even be twice as likely to develop oral cancer as women. In addition, those over the age of 50 are at a higher risk. Other risk factors may also increase your chances of developing oral cancer, such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, family history of cancer, tobacco use, and more. The risk of oral cancer in Caucasian people is higher as well.

Oral Cancer Diagnosis & Prognosis

With early detection, the prognosis for people diagnosed with oral cancer is promising. The 5-year survival rate is 84%. If oral cancer spreads to nearby tissues or organs, the survival rate drops to 65%. In addition, 1/3 of people treated for oral cancer will eventually develop a new type of cancer.

Regular visits to your dentist can help to ensure oral cancer is detected early. During regular visits to the dentist, your dentist will watch for signs and symptoms of oral cancer. Remember, your dentist knows what to look for and all the early signs. Therefore, patients mustn’t skip out on their regular dental screenings.

Prevention of Oral Cancer

Though cancer has some genetic links, there are also some lifestyle factors and health habits to consider. To prevent oral cancer, general health and wellness practices are important. First, avoid any type of smoking or tobacco use. Consume alcohol carefully and in moderation. Secondly, maintain regular exercise and eat a well-rounded diet. Also, limit your exposure to the sun, as repeated exposure can increase the risk of developing cancer on your lips.

People between the ages of 20 and 40 should have an oral cancer screening at least once every three years. Those over the age of 40 should be examined annually for oral cancer.

Treatment of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can be treated through surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. A combination of treatments may also be used. The type of treatment will vary depending on the type of oral cancer, whether it’s spread to other areas of the body, your age, and other health considerations. 

Talk to your Dentist

Concerned about a symptom you’re experiencing in your mouth or lips? Don’t delay seeking medical care. Early diagnosis is critical to help saving your life. In addition, seek help from a trusted medical professional if you’d like to learn more about oral cancer prevention.

Everything you Need to Know about Gum Disease

Has your dentist told you that you have gum disease? According to our Sherman Oaks dentist, this common condition is usually a result of improper or poor dental hygiene. Understanding how to prevent and treat gum disease is important to maintaining good oral health, no matter what your age. In this article, we’ll explore the basics of gum disease and how to take action to prevent or treat gum disease.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease occurs from bacteria or infection of the tissues (gums) that hold your teeth in place. Usually, this is caused by poor brushing or lack of flossing, which allows bacteria to build upon your teeth. Plaque that is not removed and is allowed to sit on teeth can cause gum disease.

Some risk factors enhance the likelihood of gum disease. These risk factors include smoking, diabetes, hormonal changes, and certain medications.

What are the symptoms of Gum Disease?

Gum disease can cause several symptoms to manifest in the mouth. These include bad breath, red or swollen gums, tender or bleeding gums, pain when chewing, sensitive teeth, receding gums, and generalized mouth discomfort.

Causes and Prevention of Gum Disease

As previously mentioned, gum disease starts with developing plaque that is caused by bacteria. As plaque builds on your teeth, it is important to maintain optimal oral hygiene to continually remove this plaque. Otherwise, plaque can eventually progress to gum disease.

Preventing gum disease before it occurs is the most ideal situation. This begins with good oral hygiene throughout your entire life. To help prevent gum disease, brush your teeth at least two minutes at least two times a day (morning and night). At a minimum, you should floss at least once per day. Flossing helps you prevent the buildup of bacteria between your teeth.

In addition to your at-home dental hygiene, professional dentist visits help to prevent gum disease. At least once every six to twelve months, a dental cleaning should be performed. This in-office dental cleaning helps remove plaque which can lead to gum disease.

Treating Gum Disease

Once gum disease has already occurred, the treatment will depend on the severity. Your dentist may want to take x-rays to look for potential bone loss and review your medical history. Treating gum disease is possible but will require adopting better oral hygiene practices. This may include stopping smoking or tobacco use, as well.

Many non-surgical treatments for gum disease are available. One option, known as scaling, helps to remove tartar and bacteria from the teeth and gums. Root planing is another procedure that helps discourage the further buildup of bacteria. Some surgical treatments also are available for more severe forms of gum disease. This includes flap surgery or grafts, which may be needed if the gum disease has destroyed the bone around your teeth.

Preventing Gum Disease is Key

Taking good care of your mouth is important in preventing gum disease. With a few basic oral hygiene habits, you can help prevent this condition! Daily brushing with a soft toothbrush, flossing, and using a mouth rinse are simple ways to prevent this condition. Avoiding smoking or chewing tobacco is also important in eliminating further risk for gum disease. Gum disease can lead to serious complications if not addressed. If you think you may have gum disease, talk to your dentist about treatment plans.…

Pros and Cons of Dental Veneers

For those who are self-conscious about their smile, cosmetic dentistry offers many options to help change the look of teeth. With many options to choose from, achieving an improved smile is possible. One common option, known as dental veneers, uses small pieces of porcelain to transform a smile.

Thinking about getting dental veneers? Learn more about the many advantages and disadvantages of dental veneers below.

What are Veneers?

Dental veneers are usually made of either plastic or porcelain and are placed over the existing teeth. Veneers are shaped (custom) to match your ideal tooth shape and size. Veneers are bonded to the existing teeth to create a new smile instantly.

Below are some of the most common veneers’ pros and cons to consider.

The Pros of Veneers

Change Your Look: Veneers offer a great, permanent solution for those who are looking for a cosmetic improvement in their smile. This is a clear advantage of veneers, as many people are unhappy with the look of their natural teeth. Veneers can help improve self-confidence.

Cover Up Cosmetic Flaws: Veneers can cover up common teeth problems. While there are other cosmetic dentistry options, such as whitening, straightening, and more, they’re not always enough to make a person love their smile. In these instances, veneers offer a better solution.

Veneers are also very versatile. They can cover up stains, discolorations, cracks, or chips in teeth. They can also be used to reshape damaged teeth. Veneers are very stain-resistant, which means they’re unlikely to stain the way natural teeth will. This means you can have and maintain a bright, white smile.

Natural Looking: Veneers create a natural, flawless smile. The porcelain used to create veneers is designed to look natural, matching the properties of real tooth enamel. Your dentist will work to create mold shapes for teeth that fit the size of your mouth, without looking too fake. A good cosmetic dentist will know just how to make your veneers look like natural teeth.

Instant Results: Unlike other dental procedures that require time and patience, veneers provide more immediate results. In just one or two visits, your dentist can help you completely transform your smile with veneers. Whitening or teeth-straightening can take months to years to achieve. If you want immediate gratification, veneers are an option for you!

The Cons of Veneers

Tooth Sensitivity: Veneers can make your teeth more sensitive to hot and cold. This is generally not too extreme and can be easily managed. Your dentist will have recommendations to help combat this side effect.

Costly: Compared to other types of cosmetic dentistry, veneers can be more expensive. The price of veneers will vary depending on how many teeth are being done and where your procedure is performed. Since this is a cosmetic procedure, medical insurance will not cover your veneers. You will need to pay out of pocket for this procedure.

Permanent: Getting veneers makes permanent changes to your mouth. To place them, your dentist will need to remove a thin layer of enamel from your natural teeth. Once this is done, it cannot be reversed. This is also what plays a role in making your veneers more sensitive to extreme hot or cold. If you change your mind, there is no way to restore this enamel layer that was removed.

Damage: Once you have veneers, you will need to be careful and take proper measures to protect them. Although damage is unlikely, it is possible. Veneers can become chipped or break off, which leads to costly repairs or replacements. If you’re serious about veneers, you will need to be serious about properly caring for them.

Are Veneers Right for Me?

With these pros and cons in mind, deciding to get veneers is a personal decision. Veneers offer a great solution to an instantly bright, white smile you can be proud of! Based on the recommendations and suggestions by your dentist, consider these advantages and disadvantages. If you’re not sure if veneers are right for you, consider a consultation to discuss your individual concerns further.…

How to keep your teeth clean and protect them from germs? top 10 Common issues and solutions

1. How to keep your teeth clean and protect them from germs?

It is important to brush your teeth at least twice a day and to floss at least once a day. This will help remove plaque, which is a sticky film of food and bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Plaque can be removed with a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss.

2. What are some common issues that can occur with teeth?

Common issues that can occur with teeth include cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis. Cavities happen when the enamel on your teeth breaks down, allowing bacteria to get into the tooth and cause decay. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums and can lead to bleeding gums. Periodontitis is an inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the tooth and can eventually lead to bone loss.

3. How can I protect my teeth from germs?

There are a few things you can do to protect your teeth from germs. First, brush your teeth regularly and floss to remove plaque. Second, use mouthwash to kill bacteria. Third, avoid smoking and drinking sugary drinks, as these can damage your teeth. Fourth, see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.

4. How can I get rid of bad breath?

Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be caused by a number of things, such as poor oral hygiene, certain foods, and certain medical conditions. To get rid of bad breath, you should brush your teeth regularly, floss to remove plaque, use mouthwash, and avoid smoking and eating strong-smelling foods.

5. How can I take care of my gums?

Gum disease is caused by plaque buildup on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of food and bacteria that can cause inflammation of the gums. To take care of your gums, brush your teeth regularly, floss to remove plaque, and see your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.

6. How often should I see a dentist?

You should see a dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning. During your appointment, the dentist will check for cavities, gum disease, and other problems. The dentist will also clean your teeth and remove any plaque or tartar buildup.

7. How can I whiten my teeth?

There are a few ways to whiten your teeth. You can use over-the-counter whitening products, such as toothpaste and strips. You can also get your teeth professionally whitened by a dentist. Professional whitening is more expensive but it is more effective than over-the-counter products.

8. What are dental implants?

Dental implants are artificial replacement teeth that are implanted into the jawbone. They are used to replace missing teeth or to support a dental prosthesis, such as a denture or bridge.

9. How can I prevent tooth decay?

Tooth decay is caused by plaque buildup on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of food and bacteria that can cause cavities. To prevent tooth decay, brush your teeth regularly, floss to remove plaque, use mouthwash, and see your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.

10. How can I get rid of tartar?

Tartar is a hard deposit that forms on the teeth and can only be removed by a dentist or hygienist. Tartar can cause gum disease and tooth decay, so it is important to remove it from your teeth. To get rid of tartar, see your dentist or hygienist for a professional cleaning.