Many denture wearers are unaware of the importance of seeing their dentist for regular denture maintenance. Many think “I don’t have any teeth, so why would I need to come in and see my dentist on a regular basis?” However, as a dentist, it is our job to make sure that everything in the mouth is healthy and working properly including the teeth, the gums, the bone, the throat, the tongue, etc. Also, over time, dentures wear out and can start causing real problems to the jaw, let alone making it difficult to eat properly.
I had a patient come in the other day who was having some pain in her lower jaw, but who was also wearing an upper denture. She explained that it had been a long time since her last visit because she didn’t think she needed to come in ever since she started wearing a denture. Well, it was lucky that she did come in, because aside from a regular checkup and cleaning, we also did an oral cancer screening with our new digital Velscope oral cancer test. The Velscope shines a light into the mouth and picks up abnormal tissue by fluorescence. The Velscope helps dentists identify abnormal tissue that cannot be seen with the naked eye. This early detection can help us determine a plan of action to eliminate the issue before it becomes a bigger problem. This patient who had not seen us in years tested positive under the Velscope, and was sent for biopsy. A small portion of tissue was removed, and a problem was averted. If this patient had never come in, the lesion may have developed into something uncontrollable and she may have been in much bigger trouble.
Oral Cancer effects 36,000 Americans each year, it is the 6th most prominent type of cancer.
Patients who smoke, drink alcohol heavily, or have been exposed to the HPV virus are most likely to contract oral cancer.
21% of diagnoses come too late- get checked today!