Latest News from Art of Dentistry:
Detecting Oral Cancer Early
May is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and Dr. Green wants to be sure you know the signs of this disease, as well as how it can be detected. If oral cancer is not diagnosed and treated early on, it can prove fatal. With more than 30,000 oral cancer cases recorded every year–including nearly 8,000 deaths–it's key to have a dental exam every six months.
Warning signs include: sores that bleed or do not heal; thick, hard spots; lumps; feeling that something is caught in your throat or soreness; ear pain; trouble swallowing or chewing; numbness in your tongue; hoarseness, difficulty moving your tongue or jaw and changes in how your teeth fit together.
During your routine exams at Dr. Green's office, we perform an oral cancer screening. This involves feeling your neck, cheeks and head for irregular tissue changes or lumps. Inside your mouth, we check for sores or discolored soft tissues. The sooner oral cancer is detected and treated, the better the outcome for you. Once oral cancer reaches the advanced stages, treatments such as surgery can cause chronic pain, loss of movement and permanent disfigurement.
While the exact cause of oral cancer is unknown, smoking and drinking alcohol excessively may contribute. Risk factors include age, gender and race, as oral cancer occurs more often in men and African Americans. There is also a connection between oral cancer and HPV, the most common sexually transmitted disease in the country.
In addition to your exams at our office, it's important to floss daily and brush twice-daily. This combination of professional and home care will help ensure that any problems will be realized in their early stages. Call at (207) 829-4444 to set up your next appointment and be sure to ask us about any concerns.
Using X-rays Safely, Sparingly
A recent study appearing in the journal Cancer considers a link between a common type of brain tumor, known as meningioma, and dental x-rays. Since this connection is much more prevalent in those who experienced x-rays 20–40 years ago, when the radiation dosage was significantly higher than today, Dr. Green believes x-rays remain a safe, important tool in dentistry.
“In our office, we use x-rays to diagnose diseases, including periodontal disease and oral cancer, and to see parts of the mouth that would otherwise remain a mystery,” Dr. Green noted. “We understand the importance of using x-ray technology correctly and only when necessary. There is always a purpose behind every x-ray we perform.”
In 2012, the amount of radiation received from one dental x-ray is about the same as you'd receive while on a cross-country flight. Comparatively, you receive even higher levels of radiation during a mammogram or an x-ray of your lumbar spine.
At Dr. Green's office, you've most likely experienced bitewing and panoramic x-rays. We take bitewings annually to see if you have any cavities or other decay not visible from the outside of your teeth. Bitewings also make it possible for us to more accurately view any bone loss you are suffering, in relation to periodontal (gum) disease. Panoramic x-rays, taken much less frequently, allow us to clearly view jaw fractures as well as diagnose oral diseases.
We find x-rays to still be a very useful tool that is safer today than ever before. If you'd like more information about x-rays at Dr. Green's office, just give us call at (207) 829-4444.