The mortality rate of this cancer is fairly high due to the fact that this kind of cancer is usually detected late in the development stage. In the early stages, oral cancer is usually not detectable to individuals. You may not feel any pain or symptoms until it has developed into later stages.
Your dentist performs an oral cancer check at each visit, and many offer oral cancer screenings at their office as well. If you have not had an oral cancer screening, be sure to discuss your options with your dentist.
If you do happen to be diagnosed with oral cancer, there are several treatment options that are performed depending on the stage.
At the beginning stages of oral cancer, the cancer has not begun to grow deeper into the layers of tissue. During this stage, the oral surgeon will remove the top layer of tissue, and a small amount of normal tissue. You will need to continue scheduling follow-ups to check and make sure the cancer is not coming back.
Stages 1 and 2
In stages 1 or 2 of oral cancer, individuals will be treated with either surgery to remove the cancer or radiation therapy. Along with radiation, chemotherapy (https://www.webmd.com/cancer/chemotherapy-what-to-expect#1) may be used in order remove any cancer that may be living after radiation.
Stages 3 and 4A
During these stages of oral cancer, large cancers have developed, both in nearby tissue and to lymph nodes in the neck. When this occurs, surgery and radiation are used to remove the cancer.
Oral cancer that has developed into this stage has spread to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy, cetuximab or a combination of both are used to help relieve symptoms and work to prevent more problems from occurring.
For more information on oral cancer treatment, be sure to visit the American Cancer Society’s website.
Treatment for Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders
The temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull. These joints allow you to move your jaw so you can speak, chew and yawn. There are a number of things that can cause TMJ disorders, which include:
Depending on the cause, your dentist will recommend a specific treatment option. Sometimes, simple activities such as eating softer food, using heat packs, or practicing relaxation can help treat the issue.
In other cases, your dentist may suggest one of the following:
Your dentist may suggest using a night guard (link: http://www.dentistnearmereviews.com/dental-night-guards/) when you sleep to help decrease grinding your teeth or clenching.
Sometimes, your dentist may prescribe medicines to help treat the issue. Things such as anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxant medicines may help treat TMJ disorders.
You may also be instructed on certain jaw exercises that will help strengthen your jaw.
If you have teeth that are hitting too soon or too hard on the others, your dentist may recommend adjusting the teeth that are causing issues. They will re-position these teeth back to the appropriate area.
If you are experiencing jaw pain, it is important to speak with your dentist about what may be causing the pain.
If you show any signs or symptoms of sleep apnea you should not ignore them. So where does your dentist come in?
Sleep apnea affects an estimated 22 million American adults. Sleep apnea is an issue that causes soft tissue to block the airway, preventing oxygen from reaching the lungs.
Your dentist will be able to offer an oral sleep appliance, similar to a mouthguard, that you will wear at night. This appliance supports the patient’s jaw and keeps an open airway through the night. If your dentist suggests one of these sleep appliances, here is what you can expect.
Step 1: Impressions
After determining you are a good candidate, your dentist will take impressions of your teeth. These impressions will be sent to a lab where your night guard will be made.
Step 2: Fitting
Once the lab has finished creating the sleep appliance, you will return to the dentist for a fitting. Your dentist will make any adjustments so that the night guard fits in your mouth correctly.
Step 3: Follow-Up
You will continue visiting the dentist to make sure the sleep appliance continues to fit correctly and is offering proper relief.
To learn more about sleep apnea and see if you are at risk, be sure to click here.
If you grind your teeth, called bruxism, or clench your jaw at night, your dentist may recommend that you wear a specialty mouthguard when you sleep.
These night guards, also called splints, are designed to protect your teeth and temporomandibular joints.
The process for receiving a night guard is very simple and can keep your teeth healthy and safe from dental health issues that occur due to grinding or clenching.
Your dentist will begin by making impressions of your mouth so that the night guard fits exactly.
The impressions are sent to a laboratory, or sometimes dentists have an in-house lab that can create the night guard there. The night guard will be made to either fit the upper or lower teeth and adjustments are made if necessary to fit the mold.
When the night guard is finished, you will come back to the dentist office to make sure it fits correctly and receive instructions on proper care.
Interested in learning more?
Our blog page features videos, important dental health information, and questions that are answered by dental professionals. These resources help give you the information you need to navigate the world of dental health.