February 13, 2018
When you think about cancer, your first thought may be “It wouldn’t happen to me. I’m healthy.” And you aren’t just saying this. Your general doctor said you’re doing fine and you don’t use tobacco products ever. In fact, after reading about the effects of long-term exposure to alcohol, you started to cut down on your consumption right away. In your mind, there’s no way you could be at risk. “How could a dentist find cancer when a doctor couldn’t?” You wonder.
As it turns out, there is one cancer you’ll need to keep in mind. That cancer is melanoma. To prevent one of the most common cancers in the United States, you’ll need to visit your dentist in Fremont.
What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is one of the most serious types of skin cancer out there. Currently, scientists are guessing the most commonly associated factor to be long-term exposure to the sun. Unfortunately, sunscreen can’t guarantee your protection from melanoma.
Melanoma can also occur anywhere where there are melanocytes. That means all exterior areas of your body, including your facial tissue, are vulnerable. Thankfully, with regular dental visits, your dentist in Fremont can save your life and provide you the treatment you need.
What Does Melanoma Have to Do with Dental Visits?
Unlike general physicians who perform an examination of your entire body, dentists are in a unique position to catch signs of oral cancer sooner than any other medical professional. It’s become so commonplace that an overwhelming majority of dentists now conduct oral cancer screenings, usually without even telling you.
Even though they’re equipped to discover oral cancer, you should still make it to your dentist if you notice any of the typical signs. This includes:
- Difficulty chewing and/or swallowing
- Red or white patches inside your mouth
- Changes in the color, shape, or size of your skin pigmentation
- Frequent and unexplained sore throat
How Often Should I Visit the Dentist to Protect Myself?
The American Dental Associations recommends patients see their dentist every six months. This allows your dentist in Fremont to catch early signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. The key to increasing your chances of survival and receiving treatment successfully is through early detection. Therefore, the more often you commit to regular visits, the sooner you can detect problems before they get worse.
If your dentist feels they need to confirm if an abnormality is cancerous, they will ask you to go through additional screening devices. This typically includes the use of a special medical light that can detect cancerous lesions almost instantly or through x-rays that view the deep tissues of your mouth and throat.
Consider this: skipping your dental visit is not worth it, especially if they give you the opportunity to catch cancer early. Schedule an appointment with your dentist today to learn how they protect you at every visit!
About the Author
Dr. James Block’s number one priority is seeing his patients happy smiling after every treatment. After earning his undergraduate degree from San Jose University, he went on to earn his DDS from the University of Southern California dental school. To learn more about his oral cancer screenings and practice, you can contact him at (510) 793-0801 or visit his website.
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