911 East State Street, Suite C
St. Johns, MI 48879
State Street Family Dental
100 S Scott Rd
Saint Johns, MI, 48879-9038
According to the American Cancer Society, about 30,000 new cases of mouth cancer will be diagnosed this year, and more than 8,000 people will die from it. Mouth cancer ranks as the sixth most common form of cancer that can affect any part of the mouth or lips. When detected early, the chances for successful treatment are enhanced. If left untreated, it can spread, leading to chronic pain, facial and oral disfigurement, loss of function, and even death. As a result, early detection and diagnosis of mouth cancer is vital.
Smoking and chewing tobacco significantly increase your risk. The carcinogens in tobacco, alcohol, and certain foods are leading risk factors. In fact, if both tobacco and alcohol products are used, one is 15 times at greater risk for developing mouth cancer. Exposure to sun also is linked to mouth cancer. Age, gender, and genetics are factors, too. About 95% of all mouth cancers are diagnosed in people 45 years or older. Men are twice as likely to develop mouth cancer as women.
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your dentist immediately for a thorough screening:
Following good oral hygiene practices, eliminating risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol, and scheduling regular dental exams are important to maintaining good oral health. Research also has demonstrated that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables every day is a positive practice.
Dentists screen for mouth cancer during regular routine check-ups. They feel for lumps, tissue changes in your neck, cheeks, head, and mouth and look closely for sores. Early detection of cancer and prompt treatment is critical. Ask your dentist for more information about preventing mouth cancer.
By Richard Rogers, DDS
Technology now offers attractive options for cavity restorations in dental care. Called composites, these new tooth-colored fillings are excellent choices for front teeth and other repairs that might be visible. Composites duplicate the natural appearance of a tooth in restoring decayed teeth or repairing a defect.
Composites are made from a mixture of microscopic plastic and ceramic resin particles. Another type of tooth-colored filling is called a resin ionomer, which releases fluoride useful for preventing tooth decay.
The bonding process used in restoration provides strength to the tooth, making it more structurally sound. It also seals the tooth, decreasing the chance of sensitivity to hot and cold. Some composites made with materials releasing fluoride are ideal for treating root decay, a condition when gums recede, exposing tooth roots to more cavity-causing plaque. These fluoride-releasing materials also are useful for filling decayed baby teeth.
Following removal of the decayed area, a mild acid solution is used to prepare the tooth's surface for bonding. A bonding agent is then brushed over the surface. Next, several layers of the composite are applied. For a natural appearance, the dentist matches the color of the composite to the tooth.
Then, it is chemically hardened or cured with a special light and finally polished for a natural-looking finishing touch.
In a five-year clinical study, some of the resin materials demonstrated 100% effectiveness for adhesion and retention. Like other types of fillings, they may require periodic replacement. While the material is very durable, they may not perform quite as long as silver fillings or amalgams for their resistance to the rigors of grinding and chewing.
Scheduling regular dental exams is an important part of good oral hygiene. Your dentist will check your invisible fillings each time to ensure their performance.
By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO