Every year, close to 53,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer. Killing roughly one person per hour and 24 people a day, this form of cancer can be developed by anyone, although there are a number of risk factors that can increase its chances of occurence. Accordingly, it’s important to understand both these risk factors as well as the condition's general warning signs so that you can visit our Mount Airy, NC, dentists, Drs. Bennett and Lynette Smith, if you suspect anything.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
The risk of oral cancer increases with age; however, it is also possible for people to develop oral cancer under 55 years old. Additionally, men are also twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer.
Other risk factors include,
- Tobacco use
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Exposure to sunlight or UV light (e.g. tanning beds)
- Poor nutrition
- Certain genetic syndromes (E.g. Fanconi anemia)
- A suppressed immune system
- Lichen planus (an itchy rash in the mouth and throat)
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
It’s important to be on the lookout for any changes that could be early signs of oral cancer, particularly if you are an increased risk. Common symptoms include,
- Mouth sores that don’t go away
- Bad breath
- Red or white patches on the oral tissue
- A lump or sore in the mouth
- Tongue pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Numbness in the mouth
As you can see, these symptoms also have other causes (many of which are completely harmless); therefore, experiencing one or more of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean that you have oral cancer. That being said, it’s important to play it safe and give our Mount Airy office a call if you notice mouth sores or any of the other listed problems. A simple examination is usually all a dentist needs to be able to determine the cause or to decide whether the problem requires further testing.
Preventing Oral Cancer
Along with certain lifestyle modifications (e.g. eating healthy and quitting smoking), it’s important that you also visit your Mouth Airy, NC, general dentist every six months for checkups and cleanings. During these routine checkups, our hygienist will perform a quick, painless oral cancer screening to check for lesions, lumps, growths, and other early warning signs. This screening only takes a minute and it could just end up saving your life!
Concerned? Give Us a Call
Here at Blue Ridge Dental in Mount Airy, NC, we want everyone who walks through our doors to get the proper dental care they need. Whether you need to schedule a routine dental cleaning or you have questions about any of the cosmetic or restorative dentistry procedures that we offer, call us today at (336) 789-5306 to learn more.
Wondering if those puffy gums could actually mean that you have gum disease?
While gum disease can wreak serious havoc on our oral health, it’s often hard to detect during its early stages. In fact, many people have gum disease, yet don’t even know it! Although the condition can be easy to overlook, it’s still important that regularly attend your six-month dental checkups with our Mount Airy, NC, dentists, Drs. Ben and Lynette Smith, to ensure that if there is something wrong, it can be caught early!
The Stages of Gum Disease
There are several stages of gum disease. The first stage is known as gingivitis, which causes inflammation to the gum tissue due to plaque buildup between the teeth and the gums. If your Mount Airy, NC, general dentist detects gingivitis, it can often be reversed with professional dental cleanings and improved at-home dental care.
Once gum disease advances, it turns into periodontitis. While periodontitis cannot be reversed, it can be treated with a simple scaling and root planing procedure (essentially this is a very deep cleaning for your teeth, their roots, and your gums). It’s important to note that periodontitis doesn’t just impact the health of your gums, it also affects the jawbone and your teeth.
If the problem isn’t addressed this could lead to bone and tooth loss. If bone or tooth loss has already occurred, you may need to see a periodontist who can provide more advanced and specialized treatment to restore lost bone and tissue.
The Warning Signs of Gum Disease
It’s surprisingly easy to protect your gums from gum disease. By brushing and flossing regularly you can greatly reduce your risk. Of course, it’s also important that you keep an eye out for any of these warning signs of gum disease,
- Gums that bleed, especially when brushing or flossing
- Receding gums (teeth that appear longer than they normally do)
- Puffy, inflamed gums
- Gums that are tender to the touch
- Pain when chewing
- Persistent and unexplained bad breath
- Changes in bite
- Loose teeth
These are symptoms that should not go on ignored, for they will only get worse with time. Even something as simple as gums that bleed every time you floss is a warning sign that you could be dealing with gum disease!
Contact us today!
Are you concerned about the health of your gums? Dealing with any of the symptoms above? If so, call Blue Ridge Dental in Mount Airy, NC, today to schedule your next dental appointment. Our number is (336) 789-5306.
Discover the purpose behind root canal treatments and why they are necessary.
Have our Mount Airy, NC, dentists Drs. Lynette and Bennett Smith told you that you need root canal treatment? We know that finding out that you need any kind of dental work can be a little stressful, especially if you don’t know what to expect. Our goal at Blue Ridge Dental is to keep you informed about any dental procedures you need to undergo, so that you are never left in the dark. Find out more about root canals and how they could end up saving your damaged teeth.
Why do I need a root canal?
In order to understand how a root canal works, it’s first important to understand the anatomy of a tooth. Inside the hard outer layers of the tooth lies a structure, known as the dental pulp. This soft tissue is made up of nerves and blood vessels, and it's instrumental in the development of the tooth. However, when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected, then our Mount Airy, NC, general dentists will recommend root canal treatment.
How does dental pulp become inflamed or infected?
Whenever bacteria get inside the tooth, it can infect the dental pulp. This often occurs if you are dealing with,
- Deep decay
- A cracked or fractured tooth
- A traumatic injury to the tooth
Sometimes, if a tooth has had to undergo several dental procedures, it can also weaken the tooth and affect the health of the dental pulp. When this happens, the only way to treat the problem is to remove the pulp. If left untreated, the bacteria can spread to neighboring teeth, as well as, the jawbone and cause a widespread, serious infection, resulting in tooth and bone loss.
What should I expect from a root canal?
A root canal can be performed in just a single visit. Dr. Smith will first numb the area with a local anesthesia. From there, we will go inside the tooth to extract the pulp and to clean out any bacteria trapped inside the tooth.
Once the tooth has been thoroughly disinfected, we will fill the tooth with a special material to support and preserve the structure. The root canals will also be sealed up to prevent bacteria from entering. Since any tooth that has been damaged by decay, infection, or trauma is now weaker, it’s important that we place a permanent dental crown over the tooth to protect it from further damage and to restore it. Since crowns are custom-made, you will need to come back into our office one more time after your root canal, so that we can place the crown.
Here at Blue Ridge Dental, your oral health is our top priority. No matter whether you’re dealing with a toothache or you just need to schedule your next dental checkup, our Mount Airy, NC, dental team has you covered! Call (336) 789-5306 today!
How your dentists in Mount Airy, North Carolina can relieve your tooth pain
If you are suffering from tooth pain, you may also be thinking about having your painful tooth taken out. Sometimes extracting the tooth is the right choice, and sometimes the tooth can be saved by a filling or root canal. Drs. G. Bennett Smith and Lynette Smith at Blue Ridge Dental in Mount Airy, North Carolina can help you make the decision that's best for the health of your smile.
You may need a tooth removed if you experience:
- Severe tooth pain after treatment with a dental filling or after root canal treatment
- Severe pain and tooth mobility due to periodontal disease
- Severe wisdom tooth pain because the wisdom teeth are putting pressure on other teeth
Many teeth need to be extracted for reasons other than pain. You may need a tooth removed because of:
Upcoming orthodontic treatment, if you don’t have enough room in your jaw to accommodate all of your teeth
Impacted wisdom teeth, because wisdom teeth don’t always fully erupt, and they can stay lodged in bone, potentially causing a cyst
In fact, most people don’t have enough room for their wisdom teeth, so the wisdom teeth compromise the health of your smile. They are often located so far back in your jaw that they are difficult to keep clean. Tooth decay and gum disease is often the result of badly-placed wisdom teeth.
For more detailed information about tooth extractions, please visit the Tooth Extractions page on the website at https://www.blueridgedentalnc.com/services.html
If you need a tooth extracted, don’t worry. At Blue Ridge Dental, the dentists and caring staff are committed to providing a comfortable, relaxing appointment. To find out more about tooth extractions and other restorative and cosmetic dental services, call Drs. G. Bennett Smith and Lynette Smith at Blue Ridge Dental in Mount Airy, North Carolina today!
Could you be the ideal candidate for this lifelong tooth replacement?
Not providing your mouth with the proper care that it needs now means that your smile could be in trouble in the future. Everything from cavities and gum disease to tooth loss can happen. If you are an adult who is missing one or more permanent teeth the good news is that our Mount Airy, NC, dentists, Drs. G. Bennett and Lynette Smith, offer a solution that will restore your missing teeth and give you a full smile again: dental implants!
More about Dental Implants
Most adults who are missing at least a single tooth can be candidates for dental implants; however, there are several factors that determine whether or not you are right for the treatment at this moment. Some of the things that our Mount Airy, NC, general dentist will discuss with you include:
- The health of your jawbone: We will need to run x-rays to make sure that there isn’t significant bone loss (a complication of tooth loss). However, if there isn’t enough healthy jawbone to support the implant, don't fret! We will just need to perform bone grafting to rebuild the jawbone before you can get an implant.
- Your overall health: Are you dealing with diabetes? Do you have other chronic health issues? If so, it’s important that you have your condition under control before getting implants. For example, uncontrolled blood sugar can affect the healing process and increase your risk of infection. Proper medication is key!
- Your oral health: Are you currently dealing with gum disease? Has our dentist discovered a cavity during your checkup? Again, these are things we will need to treat first and foremost before performing any restorative dentistry, but afterward, you will be all set for your new tooth replacement!
If you want to find out if dental implants are the right treatment option for replacing your missing teeth, call our dental office in Mount Airy, NC, to schedule a consultation! Turn to Blue Ridge Dental to treat your tooth loss: (336) 789-5306
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