Jessie Tucker and Holly Christmas flew to Christchurch for the Dental Expo South this week- an industry expo showing all the latest technologies and equipment, with various speakers providing continuing education. A stand out topic today was with Professor Anita Nolan regarding oral cancers. Oral Cancer is the fourth most common malignancy in New Zealand with on average 350 cases and 130 deaths per year.
Professor Nolan covered the various risk factors including smoking, alcohol, betel nut chewing, radiation, previous oral cancer, nutrition, sunlight, viruses especially HPV, poor oral hygiene, socio-economic deprivation, medications, immuno-suppression, marijuana and trauma. Some cancers are preceeded by clinically obvious malignant disorders and changes in your oral mucosa can be detected during routine dental examination with your dentist. Oral Cancer can present as a white patch, a red patch, a lump, an ulcer, pain or numbness, a loose tooth, a non-healing socket, induration/fixation of tissues or a voice change. Early detection is essential and has a direct impact on prognosis.
Our dentists perform a comprehensive soft tissue examination during your routine dental examination and assess your soft tissue for any changes that would warrant further concern or referral to a specialist for a biopsy. Just another great reason to keep on top of your dental health!