What is Oral cancer?
Oral cancer starts in the cells of the mouth. Normally these cells are quite resistant to damage, but repeated injury from smoking, alcohol or even friction may cause sores or painful areas where cancer can start.
Oral cancer accounts for about 2.3 per cent or more than 3,000 of all new cancer cases in Canada each year. Oral cancer is aggressive. In 2002, it accounted for 1.5 per cent of all cancer deaths in Canada and that number is expected to increase this year* In fact, oral cancer carries a higher mortality rate than either melanoma or cervical cancer. The five-year survival rate for oral cancer is low, at just below 50 per cent. However, early detection results in the survival rate increasing sharply to 80 per cent.
Your dentist has the medical training, expertise and the greatest opportunity to detect oral cancer during your regular dental checkup. During regular checkups, a dentist will look around your mouth to detect any possible abnormal tissue changes. Your dentist also watches for signs of other cancers that affect the head and neck, such as cancer of the throat, larynx, thyroid and nasal cavity.
If your dentist identifies a suspicious lesion during an oral examination, he or she may recommend a tissue specimen (biopsy) be sent to a pathologist for analysis. Your dentist will follow up with you to provide the results of the biopsy and, if needed, to refer you to the appropriate specialist for treatment. He or she will also discuss with you any specific requirements to tailor your regular dental treatments based on your diagnosis.
What can you do to help prevent oral cancer?
Understanding your risk factors and being able to identify signs and symptoms of oral cancer are good first steps in the prevention of the disease. If you are concerned or feel you may be at risk for developing oral cancer, talk to your dentist.
Fortunately we do not deal with such serious conditions as oral cancer on a daily basis.
The most common complaint that we receive are toothaches. Please pay attention to the exact description and sensation you experience in case of a toothache, as all toothaches could be different.
Here are some examples:
• Sensitivity to sweetness
• Sensitivity to coldness only (Note: duration of pain is important!)
• Sensitivity to hotness, or coldness and hotness together, or hot that only gets better when coldness is later applied.
• Sensitivity to biting
• Extreme pain that wakes you up at night
• Pain when biting that gets stronger upon release
• Pain - pressure in the area of upper teeth that gets worse if you bend down (most likely not dental in origin)
• Smoking and chewing tobacco - particularly if combined with heavy alcohol consumption
• Heavy alcohol consumption particularly if combined with smoking
• Excessive sun exposure to the lips
• Age - oral cancer is more common in people over 50
• Gender - more men than women develop oral cancer
Signs and symptoms
• A sore on the lip or in the mouth that does not heal
• A lump on the lip or in the mouth or throat
• A white or red patch on the gums, tongue or lining of the mouth
• Unusual bleeding, pain or numbness in the mouth
• A sore throat that does not go away, or a feeling that something is caught in the throat
• Difficulty or pain with chewing or swallowing
• Swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable
• A change in the voice and/or pain in the ear.
Other symptoms may accompany toothaches, such as swelling, bad taste, fever, difficulty swallowing, and enlargement of lymph nodes.
Originally we wanted to give you some ideas of what those symptoms and types of toothaches might indicate however, we have decided not to do that. The Internet has become a dangerous tool for people to self diagnose and we tend to always imagine the worst, thus unnecessarily creating fears. If you are not sure that you are having sensitive teeth or it might be something more serious, please do not hesitate to give us a call. We will be happy to see you in our office for a consultation regarding the issue or even be happy to talk to you over the phone to get a sense of what might be wrong. I thought we should mention one thing: difficulty swallowing and swelling that accompany toothaches should prompt you to rush to the dental office or emergency room as soon as possible.
Another set of complaints that we commonly get are related to bleeding gums, loose teeth, bad breath and so on. These are most commonly related to periodontal conditions and serve you as another reminder to take your regular recall appointments more serious.
Teeth grinding or Bruxism is on the rise. We will be able to help you identify the problem and help you deal with it by different means, including night guards. TMJ related headaches are also common and often connected with teeth grinding. Sometimes we need to work together with the specialist and your family doctor to try to address those problems.
Missing teeth are also very uncomfortable. We will offer different solutions, depending on your particular situation, such as bridges, implants, dentures, orthodontic treatment or a combination of the above.
Crowding or spacing and traumatic occlusions are some orthodontic conditions that we can address in our practice.
Stained, discoloured teeth often prevent people from smiling. We can also help solve those problems by different means.
Remember: Please do not try to self diagnose and always
consult a dental professional with any concerns that you
might be having.
* National Cancer Institute of Canada: Canadian Cancer Statistics 2002 and 2003
Cosmetic dentistry is a very important part of Summerhill Gradens’ Dental philosophy. Unlike the common interpretation of cosmetic dentistry as a primary aesthetic reserved for some unnecessary procedures, we take a different stand regarding the matter.
First, any dentistry in present modern time should be conducted with the cosmetic component in mind. Every filling, crown, or bridge that we do is sculpted in the shape of the natural tooth. We do that not only in the anterior portion of the mouth but also in the posterior, less visible portion. Nothing is smarter than mother nature and if replicate its anatomy, we will be facilitating the most efficient chewing.
Another important point, often overlooked is psychological aspect. We have seen many patients that would opt to hold back, become grumpy, unhappy people, simply because they were aware of deficiencies in their smile and stopped smiling as a result. Giving them that beautiful smile they have always dreamed of could profoundly change their lives and personalities. This is a very rewarding experience for us as health care professionals as we see those positive changes that extend beyond simple fixing of teeth. We view each patient as a whole person with all aspects of her or his personality, life style, and aspirations.
Get Straighter, Whiter Teeth, Without Removing Healthy Tooth Structure*
Ask me what Lumineers® can do for you -- a life-changing smile is in your future!
As a Lumineers™ provider, I can give you the look you've always wanted with Lumineers™ by Ceranate. The innovative technology behind Cerinate porcelain is what makes a natural-looking smile more possible now than ever before. Lumineers™ can be made as thin as a contact lens and are translucent so they look like your real teeth. And, even better, there's no painful fitting and I don't need to use a drill or anesthetic to prepare your teeth.* In other words, getting a new smile now is...well, something to smile about.
We perform a wide range of dental procedures, as simple as fillings, and as complex as complete mouth rehabilitation, and each of them begins with comprehensive oral exam.
All treatment options will be discussed and presented in the form of a treatment plan. It is our policy to obtain written or in some cases oral (but documented) informed consent to make sure that you understand benefits and potential risks of each procedure.
Our patients vary in age from 2 years old to 98. But we always say that age is just a number, it is how you feel inside, matters. I strongly believe that if the smile touches your face even before we have physically fixed it, we must be doing something right.
Main procedures performed at Summerhill Gardens Dental:
Scaling, root planning, pits and fissure sealants laser gum treatments, cold sores treatments, frenectomies, fillings, chair-side veneers, porcelain veneers (Lumineers), crowns, bridges, root canal treatments (sometimes we refer to a specialist), extractions (sometimes we refer to a specialist), dentures, orthodontic therapy, primarily Invisalign treatment, treatment of TMJ related headaches, angular heilitis treatments, gummy smiles, perioral tissue deficiency compensations, as part of complete mouth rehabilitation procedures and more.
In the office we have special patient education software which is very informative and gives you a clear understanding of each procedure and steps involved in its execution.
For the purpose of this web site we have decided not to be too graphic in showing pictures and movies that at times may be disturbing and might unnecessary scare you, it is better done in a professional environment of a dental office accompanied by the comments of your dental professional.
Our bodies are fascinating organisms, where all parts are inter-connected and inter-related. Recent studies have shown that proper oral care that includes regular hygiene appointments can help prevent stroke, cardiovascular disease, bacterial pneumonia, low birth weights, periodontal disease, gingivitis, cavities, tooth loss, and tartar.
During hygiene appointments, we routinely perform:
• Cancer check. (Note: Studies show that incidence of oral cancer is on the rise.)
• Some intra-oral findings may indirectly be signs of bodily conditions, such as diabetes, leukemia, vitamin deficiencies, cancer metastasis, bleeding disorders, sexually transmitted diseases, and many more.
We would prompt you to address those concerns with your family doctor, and if done in time, we may actually prevent them from escalating into more serious complications of general medical conditions.
In lieu of difficult economic times, let us also point out that early detection of small problems with routine dental examinations will be more cost-efficient. Do not wait until the problem causes you pain or discomfort, there is a high probability that such conditions may require extensive and costly treatments.
We do care about you and your health, therefore, please do not ignore your regular recall appointments.
In an effort to serve our patients better, Summerhill Gardens Dental will be enhancing the practice with a soft tissue laser. This laser will come into the office on December 1, 2005.
Laser technology has greatly enhanced dentist's abilities in the field of Periodontics, Endodontics, minor surgeries, and Recall visits. Any procedures performed with the laser are effortless, painless and the healing occurs instantaneous.
During regular recall appointments, we will be utilizing the laser that will sterilize the periodontal pocket and stimulate the gum and bone regeneration. In some cases, periodontal surgeries as we knew it before will become history; your gums will be noticeably healthier and they will stay healthy as long as we continue our regular maintenance program.
We hope you enjoy this new technology as the world of dentistry keeps evolving; we will keep evolving, to serve you better.