Oral cancer affects the tissues of the mouth and throat. It can occur on the lips, tongue, gums, roof of the mouth, the floor of the mouth, and the back of the throat. Oral cancer can occur in anyone, but it is more common in older adults and in people who smoke or use tobacco products.
Here are some of the common symptoms:
While oral cancer in itself is not painful, it may cause sores in the mouth that does not go away after two weeks or so. The mouth is teeming with bacteria, so chronic infections are common. If the infection isn't caused by a virus or fungi, it can be an early warning sign of oral cancer. Other symptoms include white patches in the mouth and red or white bumps on the lips that don't resolve on their own within a couple of weeks.
Difficulty or pain with swallowing can be a symptom of oral cancer. If you notice an increased difficulty in chewing food or difficulty swallowing food, speak with your dentist as soon as possible. They will be able to examine you for signs of cancer. They may also conduct tests like a biopsy in order to confirm whether or not you have cancer.
If your dentist notices that a tooth is infected, they may recommend a root canal. This procedure is often performed on teeth that have become decayed or have become infected due to cavities. During the procedure, the dentist will remove the diseased nerve tissue from the tooth and then fill in the space with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. The dentist will then seal the top of the tooth with a temporary filling until the permanent crown is placed. This gives the tooth stability and strength so that it can function properly again, so you can normally eat without pain or discomfort.
An oral sore or growth can be an early warning sign of oral cancer, especially if it is persistent and doesn't go away after a few weeks. However, not all sores are due to cancer. Tumors in the mouth can be benign or cancerous. The exception to this is children, as pediatric tumors are almost never malignant.
If you experience any of these symptoms, visit your dentist as soon as possible. They will examine your face and throat for signs of cancer before ordering X-rays and possibly biopsying any abnormal tissues.
To learn more about our dental services, contact Dieterlen Dental at 3015 E. 91st Street, Tulsa, OK 74137, or call (918) 299-2400. We will be happy to guide you further.