One of the basic components to good oral hygiene and overall health is regular dental exams and checkups. Dental checkups offer an assessment on the status of your teeth, gums, and mouth and can help identify small concerns before they become large issues. At Cambridge Family Smiles, we offer more than a fix for damaged teeth, we provide ongoing dental checkups that help keep you healthy and your smile sparkling.

Initial Oral Examination

Your first visit to our dental office is very important. In addition to meeting your dental team, you will receive a complete oral examination that includes an oral cancer screening, periodontal evaluation, bite analysis, and a thorough examination of your teeth, their supporting structures, and oral anatomy.

Professional Teeth Cleaning

Your teeth, whether natural or restored, will be healthiest in an oral environment that is clean and where proper oral hygiene is maintained. While you should be sure to take great care with brushing and flossing at home, you should also have a professional dental cleaning twice a year. With a small mirror to guide them, our dental hygienists will use a scaler to clean plaque and tartar from the gum line and between the teeth. After your teeth are completely cleaned, your hygienist will brush them with a high-powered electric brush and then complete the cleaning with a floss.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancers are those that occur in the mouth and the pharynx (the back of the throat). Oral cancer accounts for roughly two percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States each year. Approximately 35,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year and nearly 7,600 of those diagnosed will die from the disease. On average, 60 percent of those with the disease will survive more than five years. Oral cancer most often occurs in people over the age of 40 and affects more than twice as many men as women.

What Puts Someone at Risk?

Tobacco and alcohol use are the top preventable risk factors for developing oral cancer. Most cases of oral cancer are linked to tobacco products, heavy alcohol use, or the use of both tobacco and alcohol together. Using tobacco with alcohol poses a much greater risk than using either substance alone. Infection with the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (specifically, HPV 16 type) has been linked to a subset of oral cancers. Risk increases with age. Oral cancer most often occurs in people over the age of 40. Cancer of the lip can be caused by sun exposure and repeat sunburn. A diet low in fruits and vegetables may also play a role in oral cancer development.

Possible Signs & Symptoms

See a dentist or physician if any of the following symptoms last for more than two weeks.

  • A sore, irritation, lump or thick patch in your mouth, lip, or throat
  • A white or red patch in your mouth
  • A feeling that something is caught in your throat
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Difficulty moving your jaw or tongue
  • Numbness in your tongue or other areas of your mouth
  • Swelling of your jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable
  • Pain in one ear without hearing loss

Early Detection

It is important to find oral cancer as early as possible when it can be treated more successfully. An oral cancer examination can detect early signs of cancer. Oral cancer exams are painless and take only a few minutes. Your regular dental check-up is an excellent opportunity to have an oral cancer exam performed. During the exam, your dentist or dental hygienist will check your face, neck, lips and entire mouth for signs of cancer or abnormal cells that have the potential to become cancer.

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