Posts for: May, 2014
Cancer can strike nearly any part of the body, and the mouth is one of its most frequent victims. While we tend to be more preoccupied with cavities and periodontal disease, our mouths can also present clues as to whether cancer may be lurking. But these clues are tricky to spot with the naked, untrained eye. It’s crucial that you schedule regular dental exams so that Dr. Lee has a chance to recognize abnormalities that could identify cancerous tissue.
Staying on Top of Oral Cancer Facts
Being aware of oral cancer’s rate of occurrence is important. While it’s not one of the most talked-about or publicized forms of cancer, it’s incredibly prevalent among American adults. In recent years, oral cancer has actually been on a disturbing increase. While improved medical technology, nutrition, and diagnostic tools have helped reduce instances of other cancers, certain complicating factors (the like the spread of HPV) have led to a greater number of oral cancer cases. This year, about 43,350 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer, and over 8,000 will lose the battle against it. Of the newly diagnosed patients, only 57% will be alive in 5 years.
One reason for this high mortality rate is oral cancer’s detection commonly occurring late in life. Providing effective, lifesaving treatment is simpler when cancer is identified at an early stage of development. Patients who receive early treatment have an 80-90% chance of surviving longer than five years. But when oral cancer is detected late, 5-year survival rates decrease to just 25-30%. This is the dominant reason why regular oral cancer screenings are imperative.
You may be at a higher risk of experiencing oral cancer if you fall into one of these categories:
- Tobacco user
- Heavy drinker
- Genetic predisposition
- Have a related disease like HPV
- Over the age of 55
- Male (men are 2x as likely to develop oral cancer, but this may be linked to higher tobacco and alcohol use)
Where Does Oral Cancer Take Hold?
Cancer can develop across your mouth and throat, in areas including the:
- Front part of the tongue
- Inner cheeks
- Roof of the mouth
- Bottom of the mouth
- Space behind the molars
Elkhart Oral Cancer Screen | Elkhart Oral Cancer Screening | Elkhart Oral Cancer Dentist
A dental implant's ostensible purpose is to replace a missing tooth, improving the appearance and function of your smile. But what else do implants accomplish once they’re in place? Taking a look at the way implants works reveals a number of other benefits outside the tooth replacement realm. Choosing these tooth root replacements can actually make a significant difference for your health, aging process, and entire life.
How Dental Implants Protect Your Jaw Bones
When a dental implant is placed during implant surgery, it is laid into the jaw bone. As time passes during the healing process, the implant slowly connects with your natural bone tissue. This forms an impressive bond, with the implant actually supporting the existing jaw structure.
Just why is this so important? Because when you lose a tooth, the bone below it (which formely supported the tooth’s root) has nothing left to connect with, and begins to resorb (dissolve). If left alone, the bone could lose significant structure. This weakens your jaw and puts it at risk of breakage. Placing an implant connects the bone to another structure, giving it the support it needs to prevent resorption. If you place an implant soon after losing a tooth, the chance of bone loss is very low.
Tooth Implants and Facial Structure
The bone loss patients experience alongside tooth loss has an especially unwelcome effect on the face. With both teeth and bone structure missing, patients’ cheeks begin to sag, with folds forming the facial skin. In this way, tooth loss can cause premature aging and a dramatic shift in appearance. Because implants preserve the jaw bone, they help support existing facial structure, leaving patients looking great for their age.
Elkhart Implant Dentistry and Your Oral Health
As we grow older, it’s more and more difficult to keep our oral health in check. Certain medications cause dry mouth, increasing the chances of developing cavities or gingivitis. Bones become more brittle, teeth worn, and enamel weakened. Tooth loss shouldn’t have a further negative effect on your oral health. But leaving gaps in your smile puts the rest of your teeth at risk.
When there are spaces between your teeth, you’re inviting bacteria in to stay. These dark nooks and crannies are welcome homes for infection, making decay and gum disease more likely to take hold. Filling those gaps with implants and restorations will help prevent further problems. The last thing you want is for tooth loss to begin a vicious cycle. Replacing missing teeth right away preserves the structures (both teeth and gums) nearby.
Been missing teeth for some time, and worried about your implant candidacy? Dr. Lee will meet with you and evaluate your jaws, oral health, and potential for implants. With both visual examinations and x-rays, he will lay out the appropriate treatment plan and make you privy to every step of the process. If you need a bone graft in order to supplement the implant area, we will coordinate graft placement with a local oral surgeon, and be available for guidance every step of the way.
In addition to standard dental implants, Elkhart Dental Center also offers mini implants for eligible patients. These implants simplify the placement surgery, and provide similar levels of support to restorations. Mini implants require less invasive surgery, as our MDI mini implants are only 1/3 the size of a traditiona implant. Patients with mini implants also enjoy the briefer healing time, which allows them to rebuild their smiles as quickly as possible. If you’re interested in regular or mini implants, simply get in touch.