Oral Cancer – Dental Assistants Saving Lives
The main type of cancer in the head and neck areas is oral cancer. It makes up 85 percent of cancer that can affect these areas. There is a downside, its one of the hardest to treat in the early stages because it is hard to detect. During a check-up a dental assistant can help save a person’s life by screening for oral cancer.
During a checkup your dental assistant can look for these common signs :
- Numbness, pain and sensitivity anywhere in the mouth, including the tongue.
- Loose, shaky teeth even if they appear to be healthy.
- Lesions in the mouth or lips that pop up, heal and get replaced by new ones.
- Swollen gums; if wearing dentures or retainers, the swelling can make them uncomfortable to wear.
- A sore throat that wouldn’t go away no matter how often gargling with an antibacterial mouthwash.
- Earaches can make one ear sensitive to the touch yet there’s no loss of hearing.
- Difficulty moving your jaw or tongue, or with chewing, swallowing or speaking.
- Sores, swelling, lumps or thick patches anywhere in or around the mouth (tongue and gums) or throat.
- The feeling of a lump or object stuck in the throat, making it difficult to swallow or even breathe most of the time
- Hoarseness or strained voice.
What these symptoms can indicate is that some other condition can be happening too. If a dental assistant encounters a patient with these symptoms then the dentist office can arrange for a oral cancer screening. Remember it is always better to be safe than it is to be sorry.
Looking to make a career change? Want to help people correct dental problems including oral cancer screening? Take advantage of this opportunity and reserve a spot in our next Dental Assisting class… Email or call (951) 816-6298 today!
Dr. K. Pat Brown