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Oral Cancer

Oral Cancer PreventionOral cancer kills more people nationwide than either cervical or skin (melanoma) cancer, and only half of patients diagnosed will survive more than five years. One American dies every hour from oral cancer. The most common risk factors are tobacco use, frequent high quantity alcohol consumption, constant sunlight exposure, habitual cheek or lip biting, or poorly fitting dentures. Although 80 to 90 percent of oral cancers are found in people who use tobacco and/or drink alcohol excessively, 25 percent of oral cancers occur in people who have no risk factors at all.

Your dentist could very well be your number one soldier in the fight against oral cancer. Statistics show in about 10 percent of patients, dentists notice a problem area even before the patient notices. During a regular dental checkup, your dentist will examine your entire mouth, searching for a flat, painless, white or red spot or small sore. Other signs of oral cancer can include:

  • A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal.
  • A color change of the oral tissues.
  • A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust, or small, eroded area.
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips.

Two tests can determine if a trouble spot is cancerous. A brush biopsy is a painless test performed on areas that look harmless or do not have a clear cause. This test can detect potentially dangerous cells in the early stages of the disease. A scalpel biopsy, which requires local anesthesia, is usually performed on suspicious areas.

Remember to schedule regular checkups for everyone in your family. Two visits per year are recommended for general care. If, between visits, you notice any unusual changes in your mouth, call your dentist immediately. Together you and your dentist can fight and win the battle against oral cancer.

For more information about oral cancer, support groups, or treatments, visit www.oralcancerfoundation.org.

New Operating Guidelines

During the COVID-9 pandemic, the wellbeing of our staff and patients is our highest priority. For this reason, we have implemented several changes in order to support a safe and healthy environment.

— If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-9 or any other illness, please reschedule your appointment. Dental appointments will be spaced in a manner that allows for proper social distancing between patients.

— When you arrive at the office, please remain in your car, call our office to let us know you are here, and a staff member will come out to meet you. The staff member will take your temperature with a no-touch thermometer and ask some COVID-19 screening questions. We request that you remain in your car until we call to let you know that your chair is ready.

— Please arrive at your appointment wearing your own mask. If you do not have a mask, we can provide one.

— Please wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before entering the office.

— We ask that patients do not bring others with them into the office, unless you are a parent or guardian of a patient who is a minor or has special needs. If you need to accompany a patient to the door, you will then be asked to wait in your vehicle or outside the office during their appointment.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding during this difficult time, and we look forward to seeing you at your next appointment!

Sincerely,
George Rizkalla, DDS Team

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