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Gum tissue abnormalities, like swollen gums, can be a sign of many different issues. You could be experiencing irritation from a piece of popcorn that’s stuck in your gum pocket. Or, you could be in the early stages of periodontal, or gum disease.
Something that a lot of people don’t know is that abnormalities, like swelling, could be a sign of a much more serious condition: oral cancer.
When most people think of oral cancer, they think of those posters that would be put up in school libraries in an effort to keep kids from trying tobacco products. Unfortunately, many people believed that only smokers or tobacco chewers ended up with oral cancer. They thought that as long as they stayed away from tobacco they would be ok. Shockingly, 25% of oral cancer patients are non tobacco users.
Another issue facing patients is that they don’t know the early warning signs of oral cancer. Therefore, a symptom like gum swelling might go unnoticed, when in fact, it could be a precursor to cancer.
Oral cancer can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages because it can mimic other dental issues. If you notice any of the following symptoms, consult your dentist right away. Even if it’s not oral cancer—and hopefully it isn’t—your Des Plaines IL dentist, Dr. Tom Meyer can help you find relief.
Here are 10 common oral cancer indicators:
2. A Persistent Sore
3. Thickening Soft Tissue (Cheeks)
4. Loose Teeth
5. Chronic Bad Breath
6. A Lump in the Throat or Neck
7. Jaw Pain
8. Swollen Gums
9. Weight Loss
10. Changes in Your Voice
According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, if you experience any of these symptoms for several days you should contact your dentist. The best case scenario is catching the cancer and treating it early.
At Meyer Dental Group, we are your partners in health. It is our desire to help you achieve optimal dental health. In order to accomplish that, we need your help. If you notice gum tissue abnormalities, let us know right away. This is what we will check for:
It’s best to have your gums evaluated as soon as you notice the swelling so that your dentist can give you an oral cancer screening.
If you would like to know more about our screening process, please watch the video on oral cancer screening where you will be introduced to the ViziLite Plus screening tool. Below is a video of Dr. Tom Meyer conducting an oral cancer exam with ViziLite Plus.
Swollen gums could be a sign of a variety of issues. Even if the issue isn’t oral cancer, it could be another serious condition like gum disease. Either way, if you notice gum tissue swelling, recognize this as a sign from your body that you need to have your Des Plaines IL dentist evaluate the situation.
When was the last time you had an oral cancer screening? Our goal is to be proactive; we want to catch decay, gum disease, and especially oral cancer as soon as possible. We encourage you to schedule an appointment with us for a full dental examination.