Oral Cancer Screenings
Your health comes first!
What is the point of having beautiful teeth if we don’t care about the overall health of our patients? At Alamo Ranch Dental, we provide oral cancer screenings at the new patient exam and periodically thereafter. We do this by visual exam and by tactile (touch) examination in the oral cavity and surrounding structures. If we notice any abnormalities, such as lumps or swellings or unusual white or red patches that do not go away after a few weeks, we may recommend a biopsy for further evaluation and assessment. If you have any concerns or questions about unusual signs or symptoms, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Even though oral & pharyngeal cancer is not the most common cancer, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation, one American will die from oral or pharyngeal cancer every hour, 24 hours per day. The death rate associated with this cancer is particularly high because it is usually discovered late in development. Oral cancer affects not just smokers, patients over age 40, and those with a history of alcohol use but can also affect younger non-smokers. It has been associated with a link to HPV. Unfortunately there may be no signs and symptoms until it is too late in discovery.
Healthy Dentistry & Minimally Invasive Dentistry
What would you do if you had my teeth?
The old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is most certainly true, especially when it comes to dentistry. We believe that the best dentistry is no dentistry! Shocking to hear? Well it’s true, but it works in cases where there has been good adherence to life long healthy practices. We can help you get on that road!
Regular routine cleanings to remove bacteria and plaque from teeth help natural teeth and dental restorations last longer. Oral habits change over the lifetime of patients. Sealants in children and high-sugar consuming adults help prevent the formation of decay in the deep grooves of the teeth. Some teenagers may consume sodas and sugary snacks at an alarming rate. College students may find that eating away from home may mean less healthy homemade cooking and more “fast food” and soda and vending machine consumption during late night studying. Older adults sometimes find there is a decrease of salivary flow, especially combined with increased use of medications that cause dry-mouth, allowing cavity formation to reactivate or develop anew.
Did you know that over your lifetime, small fillings may be replaced several times, becoming bigger and bigger each time? Eventually, they need crowns and root canals and bridges or may eventually result in tooth loss. Such is the lifecycle of a tooth restoration due to normal everyday
biting and chewing with foods. Obviously, a cavity needs to be repaired. Our goal is to reduce this cycle of ever increasing restorations through early detection and prevention by providing routine exams and care.
Healthy Dentistry for the patient includes:
- Brush thoroughly with a soft toothbrush twice a day and floss daily.
- Eat a balanced diet and minimize snacking in between meals.
- You should think about when and how often you eat snacks and drink.
- Do you nibble on snacks and giant sodas throughout the day (at home, at work & in the car)? Or do you just eat a dessert after a meal. Every time you eat sugar, so does the bacteria in your mouth and it keeps the pH very low in your mouth for at least 30 minutes until your saliva has a chance to neutralize it (or buffer it). The more times you eat a snack between brushing, the more bacteria have a chance to make your mouth an acidic environment leading to small holes and tooth decay! Think about the pattern of your snacking. Sticky snacks or chips that get stuck in your teeth stay there longer.
- Use dental products that contain fluoride, calcident and/or xylitol.
- Use xylitol-containing sugar free gum (rather than just sugar-free gum or regular gum).
- Visit your dentist on a regular schedule for professional cleaning and oral exams.
- Encourage your children or grandchildren to develop good brushing habits and oral health care to establish a lifelong pattern of healthy teeth. Children are the only kind of people who are lucky enough to get a second chance with a new set of teeth!Good oral care starts at the age of 6 months (on average) when the baby’s teeth grow in. Never let your child sleep with a baby bottle filled with milk at night since it can lead to extensive baby bottle tooth decay.
- Remember, baby teeth are important for proper space maintenance as the child grows, as well as for using to chew when they are children!Wear a good sports guard or mouthgaurd if you or your child have an active lifestyle.
- Wear a well-fitting comfortable occlusal guard (biteguard/nightguard) if you are a grinder or clencher.
- Have your dentist place sealants on children, teenagers or adult teeth (with deep grooves or high cavity-risk).Minimize or better yet eliminate smoking, chewing tobacco or e-cigs and alcohol.
Healthy Dentistry from the Dentist includes:
- Encouraging patients to maintain a regular schedule of gentle cleanings throughout their life.
- Preserve as much natural tooth as possible.
- Give dental choices to patients so they can be an informed decision maker. Balance the pros and cons of each dental treatment. Offer alternatives.
- Use an evidence-based scientific approach in making recommendations to your patients that have a proven track record.
- Selecting a wonderful, caring and dedicated team of dental professionals!