Initial Exam and Oral Cancer Screening
Initial Exam and Oral Cancer Screening
The American Dental Association estimates that every year, more than 30,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer. Of these 30,000, only half of patients diagnosed will survive for more than five years after diagnosis.
Early detection is the key to successfully treating any type of cancer, and oral cancer is certainly no exception. That’s why when you come to your initial exam as a patient at Happy Smiles; one of the first things we do is a thorough examination of your mouth for traces of oral cancer.
The Oral Cancer Foundation defines oral cancer as an ideal cancer to identify early by screening, as an identifiable pre-malignant lesion frequently precedes it. With proper screening, we can detect the disease before any symptoms develop. This is extremely important; as by the time symptoms begin to develop, the cancer has often already begun to spread Generally, oral cancer is found in patients who use tobacco and/or drink alcohol excessively, but in 25 percent of cases, patients had not exposed themselves these risk factors. That’s why early detection is so important.
By screening for oral cancer and detecting it and treating it in its earliest stages, we can increase the potential for a successful treatment.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How do I schedule my next checkup?
Simply click the book an appointment button on your screen to schedule an appointment at your convenience! Our front desk staff will be happy to hear from you. Please let us know if you are a new patient and we will work with you to make sure that your first appointment goes smoothly and comfortably!
Do I still Need Regular Dental Checkups if I have Braces?
Absolutely! Although you may be seeing your orthodontist regularly, it is still very important that you see your dentist regularly. In fact, it is especially important that you receive regular cleaning, as braces can trap food and particles in a manner that is difficult for regular brushing to remove. This can increase your risk of many oral conditions. Dental checkups will allow your dentist to work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your mouth stays clean and healthy while wearing braces.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is one of the most common dental problems—and also one of the most easily treated and avoided. Caused by plaque and bacteria buildup, gum disease can be further aggravated by tobacco use, teeth grinding, and certain medications. Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease, and, if detected, is treatable. Left untreated, however, gum disease can lead to tooth and bone loss. Here are a few common symptoms of gum disease:
- Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
- Extreme tooth sensitivity
- Receding gum line
- Abscessed teeth
What is a filling?
As the name suggests, fillings are used to fill cavities after they have been treated. Here are a few important facts about fillings that all patients should know:
- Receiving a filling is generally painless due to anesthetics.
- Fillings are made from specially chosen materials designed to be safe and comfortable.
- If you think you might need a filling, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
What is a cavity?
A cavity is a small hole inside of a tooth caused by tooth decay. Tooth decay is generally caused when plaque builds up outside the tooth and combines with sugar and starches in food ad drinks. This produces an acid that destroys tooth enamel and makes tooth decay possible. Left untreated, cavities can cause serious oral health problems—not to mention quite a deal of pain! The best way to prevent cavities is by regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups.
What are the Secrets to Good Oral Health?
- Brush your teeth a minimum of two times per day.
- Just as importantly, floss at least once!
- Use toothpaste that contains fluoride in order to help prevent cavities.
- Avoid foods with a lot of sugar, as sugar increases the amount bacteria in your mouth.
- Avoid tobacco, as it stains your teeth and greatly increases your risk for oral cancer.
- Brush your tongue in order to remove food particles, reduce bacteria, and keep your breath smelling fresh.
- Change your toothbrush every three months.
- Schedule a routine checkup with your dentist every six months, even if your teeth feel fine!
How Can I Find the Right Dentist for Me and My Family?
Choosing a dentist is a personal decision that should be made based upon your dental needs, as well as your personal values. Here are a few of the reasons we believe that Digital Dental Arts is the best choice for our patients.
- Convenient scheduling options.
- Central location right off the Union Turnpike in Queens.
- State-of- the-Art facility.
- Special attention to making our patients feel comfortable.
- Attention to preventative care and the development of good dental habits.
- Straightforward payment process and willingness to work with insurance companies.
What is the Right Age to Start Visit the Dentist?
According to The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), children should receive their first dental checkup between six months and one year of age. This will allow your dentist to confirm the healthy development of your child’s baby teeth. From this point on, regular checkups once every six months should be the norm unless your dentist recommends otherwise.
How often should I see the dentist?
As mentioned above, the general consensus (which is also promoted by the American Dental Association) states that most adults and children should visit the dentist twice per year—roughly once every six months. However, it is important to remember that patients who are at a greater risk for oral cancer or gum disease may need to visit the dentist more often. The only way to be certain about your individual needs is to speak with a dentist.
Why visit the dentist?
The general medical consensus affirms that the average patient should see the dentist roughly once every six months. Unfortunately, many people do not take this seriously because they do not understand the importance of dental checkups. Here are a few reasons why visiting the dentist is important.
- Defends against tooth decay
- Lowers your risk of chronic bad breath.
- Protects against gum disease, (known professionally as Periodontal Disease.)
- Lowers your risk of tooth and bone loss
- Eliminate the stains that develop inevitably due to food, drinks, and tobacco
- Strengthens your teeth, which can improve the quality of your life for years to come.
- Helps you look and feel your best, knowing that you have a healthier and more attractive smile!