Can Your New York Area Dentist Diagnose Cancer?

Visiting your New York Dentist is not the best idea if you suspect that there is a possible mouth or tongue cancer. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that there is cause for concern in the subtle changes to mouth tissue. That is probably why most of these are initially recognized during routine dental check-ups.

Ideally, anyone involved in habits that contribute to the development of oral cancers namely chewing tobacco, smoking or using snuff; would learn the symptoms of these diseases and watch for them. In a perfect world these folks would be hyper-sensitive to any lesions, discoloration or changes in oral tissue. If we all did then these cancers would be detected very early and the prognosis would be far, far better.

Perfect world scenarios rarely pan out however. People who engage in risky health practices are also likely to dismiss dental hygiene with a quick brushing now and then. Even more startling is the statistic for oral cancers among people who are involved in no risky habits. About 27 % of those contracting oral cancers have no known risk factors. That’s why dentists are trained to examine and identify mouth cancers particularly on the tongue during every routine dental examination. Long before other health professionals are called into the patient’s consultation the dentist has often made a preliminary diagnosis.

Some New York dentists are using new technology to help identify and mark precancerous tissues especially in “at risk” groups. These use a combination of harmless blue marking dyes and light to make the mouth screening more accurate. The new protocol, called ViziLite Plus is produced by Zila Pharmaceuticals, Inc. of Phoenix, Arizona. While this is not a revolutionary change in oral cancer screening it does use a simple concept to make the process better.

That’s reason enough to keep six month dental check-ups. Of course the other main reasons are still of primary concern. But having a dentist perform a visual examination for cancer in the head and neck area every time a routine check up and cleaning is scheduled is sort of a value added bonus for the consumer in all of us!

It is estimated that the most advanced cases of oral cancer may require medical care that may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat. The treatment isn’t anything that most people would want to go through either. Surgeries up to and including removing many parts of the mouth and tongue may be necessary. Most people can think of far better ways to spend that money. This of course makes the value of early oral cancer diagnosis more important from even a micro budgeting standpoint.

Even without health insurance these semi-annual visits are a bargain. Prevention of periodontal disease is also a huge money savings that can result from professional tooth cleaning. And catching caries before a deep cavity is formed saves suffering as well as tooth structures. Removing stains during the six month check up and cleaning is intended to keep caries from forming but is more valuable than a tube of new lip stick from a cosmetic stand point.

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