Increasing Your Oral Cancer Awareness

oral cancer words

April—it’s a month when we get more blooming flowers, warmer weather, and a fresh start with renewed hope. But did you know that April is also Oral Cancer Awareness Month? This condition may not be as common or as widely discussed as breast or prostate cancer, but it is still deadly. In fact, oral cancer claims one life every hour of every day in the United States. Take an opportunity this month to learn more about this disease and why you need to get oral cancer screenings on a regular basis.

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer consists of the uncontrollable growth of cancerous cells in the head and neck (excluding the brain). Out of the 53,000 newly diagnosed cases of oral cancer expected for this year, only a little more than half will likely survive past five years.

Oral cancer can manifest in many ways. Its common signs include:

  • Red, white, or speckled patches of tissue.
  • Mouth or lip sores that don’t heal within two weeks.
  • Lumps or bumps in the mouth, jaw, or neck.
  • Numbness in the tongue.
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing.
  • Pain while swallowing or chewing.

If you have any of these symptoms, contact your dentist or doctor right away for an evaluation and testing.

What happens during an oral cancer screening?

At your routine dental checkup appointment every six months, your dentist performs a quick oral cancer screening to look for the common indications. This begins with their asking you about any changes to your medical history and if you’re experiencing any unusual symptoms. They visually examine your mouth, paying particular attention to the gums, tongue, and hard and soft tissues. To be able to view the back of your mouth more clearly, they may need to use gauze to hold and move your tongue. Afterward, they gently feel your jaw and neck. If they happen to discover something of concern, they will send you to a doctor for additional tests.

Why is a regular oral cancer screening so important?

Believe it or not, oral cancer is not particularly difficult to diagnose. Then, you may wonder, why is the mortality rate so high? Well, unfortunately, oral cancer is often found during more advanced stages of development, when treatment comes too late to make a significant difference. Like many other cancers and diseases, oral cancer is more easily treated and overcome when it diagnosed and treated early. In fact, the survival rate for those with early oral cancer detection is up to 90 percent. Your oral cancer screenings twice a year help ensure that, if you do have oral cancer, you are able to have higher chances of beating it.

In the end, a few minutes twice a year may seem insignificant, but your oral cancer screening could save your life! This April, make your semiannual checkup appointment with your dentist so that you can receive this essential service. If they find nothing, you can have extra peace of mind about your health. But if they do, you can seek the treatment you need to enjoy many more years of a fulfilling life.

About the Practice

At Mor Smiles, three experienced and talented dentists provide excellent comprehensive dental care to patients of all ages in the Lititz area. From routine checkups to complex oral surgical procedures to cosmetic services, they and their staff can meet every dental need with a friendly, compassionate attitude. To schedule an appointment with them, you can call (717) 340 – 0478

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Before After

Chao Pinhole Gum Therapy

Before After

Meet Gretchen

Gretchen was told by her last Dentist that she should have all her teeth pulled and replaced with dentures. Her mother had dentures and she couldn’t even imagine not having her own teeth. She knew she was going to need a lot of work if she wanted to keep her teeth and wanted to do as few appointments as possible. Dr. Moriarty suggested IV sedation and Gretchen agreed that this was her best option. She couldn’t believe how easy the appointments were and wished she would have started the process sooner.

Before After

Meet LuAnn

LuAnn was wearing a complete lower denture. She was disappointed that it no longer fit and was having trouble eating. She decided to have dental implants placed and have teeth anchored to the implants so she would not have to remove them. She loves her new lower teeth so much that she is ready to replace the upper teeth with new crowns that will match the bottom.

Before After

Meet Adam

Adam was concerned about the infection in his mouth. He felt his overall health was suffering and had consulted with his medical Doctor too. Dr. Moriarty found that he had moderate gum disease and several infected teeth. After just two appointments the majority of his dentistry was completed and Adam felt his energy levels returned to normal and was feeling great.

Before After

Meet Elizabeth

Liz suffered from severe dental phobia. She hadn’t been to the Dentist in years and just couldn’t delay dental care one more day. She was very self-conscious about her smile. She was in constant pain and she couldn’t chew her food. She wanted a natural smile and requested that all of her treatment be done with IV sedation. Liz is now very confident with her new smile and is no longer fearful of dentistry.

Before After

Meet Iris

Iris suffered from a chronic condition that kept her isolated in her home for years. She sent an email to the office expressing how embarrassed and afraid she was to come in for care. Dr. Moriarty assured her that he would help her and his office was judgment free. Iris knew she needed a lot of work and would only consent to treatment if she could be sedated. After her initial consultation appointment, she was scheduled to get started. All of her treatment was completed in two visits under IV sedation. She is so grateful to Dr. Moriarty, not only did he change her smile, he changed her life!

Before After

Meet Joe

Joe never really thought about his teeth. But as he got older, he noticed his teeth were falling apart. His goal was to have a younger smile which reflected his spirit. Dr. Moriarty placed all porcelain crowns on four of his upper front teeth. The result, the more youthful smile he desired.

Before After

Meet Sara

Sara came into the office for her preventive cleaning. She was getting married in six months and confessed that she didn’t love her smile. She wanted to make some improvements before she got married. Dr. Moriarty completed two all porcelain crowns for her in just two visits. Sara was thrilled with the results and her smile was radiant in all of her wedding photos.

Before After

Meet Jen

Jen was frustrated with her teeth. She felt like she had a cavity every time she went to the Dentist. Jen had a lot of cavities filled throughout her young life, but the fillings didn’t seem to match her teeth very well and she felt like everyone stared at her smile. She decided that she wanted a longer lasting fix for her smile. Porcelain veneers were the answer. Jen had ten veneers placed on her upper front teeth and her new smile was an instant boost in her self-confidence!

Before After

Meet Jo

Jo wanted straight teeth all of her life. When she was an adult she decided to look at her options to correct her crooked smile. Of course, braces were suggested, but, she just couldn’t see herself with brace at this point in her life and really wanted faster results. Dr. Moriarty suggested porcelain veneers. Jo liked the idea of an instant result and in two visits she left with a gorgeous new smile.

Before After

Meet Sue

Sue repeatedly had cosmetic bonding done on her teeth, and was satisfied with the results, but never thrilled. When it was time to replace the bonding, she expected a similar result. What she didn’t expect was this radiating smile that surpassed her expectations. She is smiling more than ever before.

Before After

Meet Darlene

Darlene called the office at 9:00 am on a Wednesday morning. She hadn’t been to the dentist in 10 years and her front tooth broke. She was embarrassed and needed help immediately. She came to the office an hour later and left smiling. Darlene started the process of fixed bridge work, teeth that she brushes in her mouth. She knows she has other needs and vows that she will never miss a checkup appointment again!

Before After

Meet Pamela

Pamela had beautiful porcelain crowns done years ago and has been very diligent about keeping her smile healthy. Surprisingly, she began having issues with her crown, it was loose and caused an unpleasant taste in her mouth. After a consultation, it was determined that the root of the tooth could not be saved. Pamela was given three options to replace her front tooth and she choose an implant. The root was removed and the implant was placed the same day. After a few months of healing the final restoration was completed. The results were outstanding. Pamela is positive she made the right choice to replace her tooth with an implant.