Prevention/Public Education: dentists educate their patients, as well as the general public, on how to prevent oral health problems. As primary health care providers, they provide nutritional guidance, as well as information and advice on developing and maintaining good oral and overall health.
Detection and Management of Oral Conditions: Research shows there may be a link between oral disease and other health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke, as well as pre-term and low-birth-weight babies. Dentists are often the first health care professionals to spot a wide variety of systemic diseases such as hypertension and cancer.
Aesthetic Improvement: Dentists can help improve a patient’s appearance as well as health through the use of newly developed cosmetic dental techniques.
Restoration: Dentists repair damage to the teeth, gum and oral tissues caused by accidents or diseases such as dental caries (tooth decay) and periodontitis (gum disease)
Correction: Dentists correct oral health problems caused by crooked, crowded or poorly spaced teeth or misaligned jaws with orthodontic appliances, mouth splints and other devices and treatments.
Reconstruction: Dentists fabricate substitutes for lost teeth and oral tissues, including fixed replacements and dentures.
Surgery: Dentists perform many kinds of oral surgery other than tooth extractions. They also perform surgery to correct facial and dental deformities caused by accident and birth defect. (CDA)
Dr. Elizabeth Dimovski & Associates – We Protect Your Smile!!!
Oral cancer refers to all cancers of the oral cavity, which includes the following:
lining inside the lips and cheeks (labial mucosa and buccal mucosa)
floor of the mouth
roof of the mouth (palate)
the area behind the wisdom teeth
Most oral cancers are located on the sides of the tongue, floor of the mouth and lips.
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 symptoms include:
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
Your Dental Exam
Your dentist does more than protect and care for your teeth, gums and smile — your dentist can also help keep you healthy.As oral health experts, dentists are in a unique position to help in the early detection of many medical conditions, including cancer.Dentists are trained in medicine so they recognize the relationships between oral and overall health.
Most people see their dentist regularly, so your dentist is often the first health-care professional to have an opportunity to detect the many health conditions that affect your mouth. Many patients are not aware of the extent that a dental exam can play in disease prevention.Through the dental exam, your dentist can see if there are any abnormalities or changes in your mouth that might be indications of health problems, such as oral cancer or diabetes. At each visit, your dentist will conduct a medical history review and ask you about your current health.It’s important to answer these questions carefully. What you say can help your dentist alert you to potential health concerns that may require further investigation, diagnosis or treatment by a physician.
Without an examination by a dentist, most early signs of oral cancer are difficult to detect. If you notice a mouth sore or anything out of the ordinary that does not go away or heal after a couple of weeks, discuss it with your dentist.
Smoking and chewing tobacco — particularly if combined with heavy alcohol consumption
Heavy alcohol consumption— particularly if combined with smoking
Excessive sun exposure— particularly to the lip
Age— people over the age of 40 have a higher risk of developing oral cancer
Gender— men are more susceptible than women to developing oral cancer. In the past, men had a 6:1 ratio of incidence of oral cancer compared to women. However; this ratio is narrowing and is now closer to a 2:1 ratio
HPV— more research is emerging that connects human papillomavirus infection — especially HPV-16 — with oral cancers
A diet low in fruits and vegetables— fruit and vegetables have a protective factor that is believed to reduce the risk for oral cancers
See a dental professional for a regular dental exam
Quitting (or reducing) your tobacco and alcohol use lowers your risk of developing oral cancer
When you are outside and exposed to the sun, use lip balm with UV protection and wear a hat
Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables
Brush and floss your teeth daily
The mouth has long been recognized as a mirror reflecting the health of the body. With regular visits to your dentist and good oral health routines, you will have lots to smile about.
Early detection of oral cancer can significantly increase the success of treatment and reduce the likelihood that the cancer would spread to other parts of the body. This test is intended to help you assess your personal risk for developing oral cancer. Knowing that you are at increased risk can help you develop a plan to make healthier choices. There are many factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing oral cancer:
Indicate ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to each of the following questions.
1. Are you over the age of 40? * yes * no
2. Are you Male? * yes * no
3. Do you have Human Papillomavirus (HPV)? * yes * no
4. Are you sexually active and not regularly tested for sexually transmitted infections (STI’s)? * yes * no
5. Do you use tobacco products? * yes * no
6. Do you drink a lot of alcohol and have done so consistently for a long period of time? * yes * no
7. Are your lips exposed to the sun on a regular basis? * yes * no
8. Is your diet low in fruits and vegetables? * yes * no
The more risk factors you have replied “yes” to in the questionnaire, the higher your risk of developing oral cancer. You should take a few moments to look in your mouth for the signs and symptoms that are associated with oral cancer. If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, please speak to a dental or health care provider as soon as you are able. Be sure to ask for an oral cancer screening at a dental or medical clinic.
“A growing body of evidence suggests that Canadians are increasingly at risk for oral cancer. It is now the 13th most common diagnosed cancer in Canada. It is believed that extremely low awareness level on the risk factors and prevention behaviours, among the general population, and gaps in knowledge and practices on the part of health professionals that have contributed to increasing incidence and late stage diagnosis – often with fatal results.”…..”Oral cancer is both preventable and screenable.” Approximately 70% of oral cancer is discovered at the late stage 3 or 4. Early diagnosis of oral cancer through screening and early detection is critical. Dental professionals are in a unique position to identify these lesions and give appropriate recommendations that expedite referral and treatment. Risk factors related to oral cancer:
1 – Age and Gender – Men are more susceptible than women. Ratio of 2:1.
2 – High consumption of alcohol, especially when combined with the use of tobacco products (This includes smokeless tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco, chewing betel quid, paan, areca nut, hookah, cigarettes and cigars).
3 – Prolonged exposure to UV light – Sun and tanning beds.
4 – Dietary factors – Diet low in fruits and vegetables.
5 – Chronic irritation.
6 – HPV infection (particularly strands 16 and 18)
There is an alarming emergence of an atypical profile. Historical risk factors are on the decline. The fastest growing segment of the oral cancer population is people between 20-30 years old who are non smokers. 70% of all new oral cancer victims have none of the historical risk factors. This is attributed to the presence of human papillomavirus. HPV is the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease in the U.S., yet less than one third of the general population has even heard of it.
Oral cancer prevention:
1 – Reduce your alcohol consumption. 2 – Quit smoking and stop (reduce) using tobacco products.
3 – If sexually active be sure to use protection.
4 – When outside and exposed to the sun use sunscreen and lip balm with an SPF.
5 – Eat a healthy diet that is high in fruits and vegetables.
6 – Visit your dental professional regularly for cleanings and check ups.