Opening wide can be a real live saver

14th July 2016 by John Picton

Teeth are our thing, we adore looking after them and making sure they’re in great shape, but did you know regular check-ups can be beneficial for the rest of your body too? That’s because, when you are sitting comfortably in our dentist’s chair, we don’t just peruse your pearly whites, we also check your mouth, face and neck for signs of oral cancer.

This increasingly prevalent disease is on the increase, with over 7500 new UK cases in 2013, but if it is caught early enough this type of cancer is very treatable. In fact, timely detection is vital, as it can be quite advanced when it is picked up. That’s why we check for the following:

  • Unusual swellings or other unexplained changes to your mouth, face, neck or lips
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in your neck

We carry out a really thorough examination by checking:

  • The top and bottom lip, and further down the sides of your mouth
  • Inside your cheeks
  • Your tongue – you have our permission to stick it out at us, so we can have a good look at the sides and underneath
  • The roof and floor of your mouth

At Cleveland Cosmetic and Dental Implant Centre, we routinely offer VELscope® assisted oral cancer screening as part of the Denplan Excel Care Scheme. This clever detection system features a handheld device that shines a harmless blue light into the mouth. This enables the dentist to easily spot abnormalities because they appear darker than the surrounding tissue. If a suspicious area cannot be explained – for example, it is a recent burn from an overly hot drink – we will offer a follow–up screening so we can keep an eye on any problems. This device will also shine a light on less serious oral conditions that may also require treatment.

We can get a great view of your mouth from where we’re standing and can easily spot anything that looks a little odd. Even if all your teeth are missing and you wear dentures, make sure you come and see us regularly so we can check out your mouth for signs of cancer.

So open wide! Not just for you teeth’s sake but for your general well-being too.

Mind your mouth

It’s a good idea to get to know your mouth so you will be able to identify any changes that may signal the early stages of mouth cancer. Keep an eye out for any of the following:

  • A sore patch or ulcer that refuses to heal
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Red or white patches
  • Strange lumps
  • Areas of numbness
  • Swollen lymph nodes in your neck
  • Loose teeth
  • Persistent sore throat or hoarseness
  • Swelling in the jaw

Give us a call on 01642 570 138 if you are worried about any mouth matters or you want to find out more about our Denplan Excel Care cover.