The Dentist’s Role in Detecting Oral Cancers

Why regular check ups are essential for early treatment of cancers.

With Mouth Cancer Action Month starting in November, we thought it was worth taking a look at the role played by the dentists at the Confidental Clinic in Clapham Junction in the detection of this problem. Cancer is perhaps the main word that nobody wants to hear when they visit their doctor.

Despite this though, many people have a tendency to bury their heads in the sand a little and ignore potential symptoms until they become so problematic that they can no longer be ignored.

Whilst this might be understandable, it does often mean that cancers are not treated in their early stages, when a higher treatment success rate is often more likely.

Oral cancers

It is for this reason that, when patients from Battersea and Clapham Junction attend our practice for a routine examination, our dental team are fully trained to look for possible signs of oral cancers and make a recommendation, where appropriate, for the patient to visit their doctor. There are a number of signs which might indicate potential cancer of the oral area, and these include:

●     Ulcers which take a long time to heal

●     Red or white patches in the mouth

●     Lumps or swellings in the area of head, neck or mouth

Some of these symptoms may be caused by other factors such as a cut to the cheek or a bruise from a blow to the mouth, but it is always best to be sure. It should be said that only a doctor or cancer specialist will be able to determine for certain if the problem relates to cancer or not, and a referral from a dentist at the Confidental Clinic by no means confirms that it is cancer. This is simply a precautionary move to ensure that, if cancer is present, our dental patients can be treated in its early stages.

Keeping appointments

Of course, looking for potential signs of oral cancers is only one of the things we look for during oral examinations. General dental health is still important, if not as important as cancer detection, and, during the examination, our dentists will examine both your teeth and your gums for signs of dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. Where these are found, providing that you have kept regular appointments every six months or so, any treatment needed should be relatively minor. Skipping appointments however, may well lead to more invasive dental surgery and we therefore encourage our patients not to miss their appointments.

If you need to book in for a regular examination, you can do so by calling the Confidental Clinic on 020 7801 9060.