All About Oral Cancer

oral cancer riskApril is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and our dental office in Sacramento thought we should dedicate a blog this month to help educate our patients and community on the prevalence of oral cancer in America, what increases someone’s likelihood of developing the disease, and how to spot signs of oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Statistics

Like any other cancer, oral cancer is a complicated disease that takes the lives of many individuals. While scientists continue researching cures and treatments are always improving, the data surrounding the oral cancer epidemic is still scary.

  • According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, nearly 50,000 Americans will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2017.
  • Of those, only a little over half are expected to live longer than 5 years.
  • This year alone, oral cancer will kill one person every hour of every day.
  • Across the globe, an estimated 450,000 oral cancer diagnoses are made each year.

Oral Cancer Risks

While anyone can develop oral cancer, there are several factors that increase the likelihood of diagnosis. Of these, there are few we can control and others we can’t.

  • The top risk factor is tobacco use. An estimated 80% of oral cancer patients are, or have been, tobacco users.
  • As we get older, our risk of oral cancer increases. The majority of oral cancer patients are over the age of 55.
  • Gender can also play a role. Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women.
  • Drinking alcohol heavily also increases your risk.   

Oral Cancer Symptoms

  • Pain while swallowing, chewing, or speaking
  • Changes in voice
  • A sore or discoloration that doesn’t go away after two weeks
  • A lump inside the mouth or neck
  • Chronic bad breath

Signs of oral cancer can be similar to other non-serious oral health issues. If you notice any of the symptoms above, we strongly encourage you to call your dentist in Sacramento as soon as you can. Early detection of oral cancer greatly increases the chance for successful treatment. This is also one reason why you should see your dentist at least every six months.

At our Sacramento dental office, we care about keeping our neighbors healthy. If there are any questions we can answer, or if you’re looking for advice on oral cancer treatment, give us a call.

5 Reasons You Can’t Get Numb at The Dentist

get numbAt our dental office in Sacramento, we always want to ensure our patients’ comfort. One of the ways we do that is by numbing the area we need to work on before we begin treatment. But sometimes we encounter someone who has difficulty getting numb. Why is that? We have some possible explanations.

Hot Tooth

Having a ‘hot tooth’ is a dentist’s way of saying your struggle to get numb may be caused by a particularly painful tooth. When a tooth is causing you a lot of pain, your nerves change. They can either become overactive, therefore needing more anesthetic to calm it down, or they can actually develop additional pain receptors. More nerves means the need for more numbing agent.

Movement During Administration

We understand the thought of getting a shot of anything isn’t very pleasant, especially when that injection is going into your gums. But it’s really important that you try really hard to stay really still. If you squirm or jerk away suddenly, your dentist in Sacramento can miss the nerve, requiring additional injections to get properly numb.

Missed Target

While we all like to think we hit the bullseye 100% of the time, the truth is, we’re human. Unfortunately, sometimes that means we miss the target. Most dentist are trained so well that they hit their mark the majority of the time. But if you aren’t getting numb, we may recommend taking another try.

Your Body

Everyone is different, and just like how some people react differently to medications, anesthetics can do the same thing. Sometimes your body removes the numbing agent from your system too quickly, making the numbness wear off faster than we’d like. Other times, your body’s removal process is lightning fast, meaning you may not get numb at all.

If you have a history of being unable to get numb prior to a dental procedure, try to relax before your visit to our Sacramento dental office. We’re here to help ease any concerns you may have and we’ll do whatever we can to help keep you comfortable throughout your visit.