Tag Archives: oral cancer screening

Dental Exams are Important for SO Many Reasons …

We ALL need to visit our Dentist every 6 months!!

Every person, whether you have good teeth or not, whether your gums are healthy or not, whether you build up a lot of plaque and tartar or not, whether you are the world’s best brusher and flosser, or not.

That’s right, everyone needs to see the dentist every 6 months.

Regular dental exams are essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. The American Dental Association recommends a visit to the dentist at least once a year but making an appointment once in six months prevents a host of oral related problems.

Regular Dental Exams Keep MORE than Your smile Healthy!

Have you had a dental cleaning and exam this year? Professional dental exams and cleanings aren’t just for keeping your smile bright; they can have a significant impact on your general health.

Insufficient oral hygiene has been linked to several serious illnesses. Associated medical and dental issues include bone loss, cardiovascular disease, strokes, cancers, and many other problems. Brushing and flossing at home are essential, but to ensure teeth are healthy and thoroughly clean, you should schedule regular check-ups with your dentist and annual dental cleanings with your dental hygienist.

Here are nine reasons professional cleanings are so important.

  1. Your dental hygienist can remove most of the stains that dull and discolor your teeth, so you’ll be left with a brighter, whiter smile.
  2. Having your teeth cleaned can prevent gum disease, which leads to early tooth loss. We’ll discuss more about this later…
  3. In America alone, one person dies from oral cancer every hour, but many of these cancers are curable if detected at an early stage during a routine cleaning.
  4. A strong link exists between cardiovascular disease and gum disease. Because getting your teeth cleaned twice a year helps prevent gum disease, it can also reduce your chances of potentially deadly heart attacks and strokes.
  5. During a professional dental cleaning, it’s easy for your dentist to detect early signs of problems such as broken fillings and fractures.
  6. Many dental plans cover cleanings, and you’ll save money on dental expenses in the long run by taking advantage of your policy.
  7. If your dentist finds any serious problems during a teeth cleaning or exam, the office can help you make financial arrangements to cover the necessary procedures.
  8. Professional dental cleanings give your dentist or hygienist an opportunity to compare the state of your oral health to that of previous visits. If you’re moving in the wrong direction, immediate intervention can put you back on track.
  9. Regular check-ups and dental cleanings help prevent and resolve persistent bad breath. 

Check out this article about how often you should see your dentist in SELF MagazineDo I Really Need Teeth Cleanings Twice a Year?

Don’t let oral bacteria (or cavities) get you down!

Bacteria is a sneaky opportunist that loves to break down your enamel and cause issues that can affect the health of your teeth and gums. When you get regular, professional cleanings, your dentist can help you avoid bacteria build up and catch any problems early on, including cavities – saving you time and money!

Cavities happen all the time. They’re an extremely common problem that most everyone faces when they’re a child, teen, or adult. When you sit in the dentist’s chair and find out you have a cavity, it can put a damper on your day. Cavities are often minor inconveniences, and annoying toothaches and tooth sensitivity are often associated with cavities.

Cavities are simply no fun at all. Nonetheless, with quick treatment by your dentist and oral hygiene diligence, cavities don’t have to form into bigger problems. If left untreated; however, cavities can form into much bigger oral complications, such as tooth loss, broken teeth, and gum disease.

Don’t forget, your dentist also performs an oral cancer screening during your dental exam as well!

More on Cavities and Tooth Decay from The Mayo Clinic.

Cavity Formation and Risk Factors

Cavities form because of tooth decay – often due to excess bacteria and plaque in the mouth. Once the tooth begins to decay, a cavity forms over time and creates little holes in teeth. Sometimes, when a cavity forms, you can experience a toothache or sensitivity to hot and cold. Some people may not experience any pain or discomfort from a cavity and that’s why it is so important to see your dentist for regular dental exams and cavity checks.  

Bacteria is a destructive force in the mouth. When bacteria are present, they begin breaking down enamel, causing a build-up of plaque and tartar, and irritate the gums. Everything in connected with your oral health and if bacteria begins affecting a tooth and causing a cavity, it could also be causing gum disease.

Here’s a deep dive into Gum Disease.

Gum Disease Causes and Treatment

Cavities are a tell-tale sign of excess bacteria in the mouth. This means that you probably need to ramp-up your oral hygiene routine. Maybe you need to spend more time brushing, add in more flossing, and so on. Talking with your dentist will help you pin-point what you can do to eliminate the risk of cavities and gum disease. When cavities are present and bacteria is left untreated in the mouth, your gums can begin to get inflamed, which is the basis of gum disease.

According to WebMD, gum disease begins with bacteria in the mouth and can lead to tooth loss because of the loss of gum tissue. Gum disease attacks the gums, making them recede and not hold on to your teeth as well as they should. Look for these signs and symptoms:

  • Swollen or sensitive gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Pockets between the gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Bad breath

Catching gum disease early is key to recovery, much like cavities. Proper plaque and bacteria control are key to eliminating gum disease and cavity risk! So, talk with your dentist to see what works best for you, and remember that proper oral healthcare, including dental exams twice each year, is the best defense against bacteria.

More on Gum Disease Treatment Options from WebMD.

Dental Benefits are on Your Side

Keeping up with a regular cleaning schedule helps you make the most of your dental benefits. Remember, prevention is always better than a treatment. Preventive Dental Care is almost always covered 100% by your insurance provider, so talk with your provider to understand the full benefits of your preventive care, and, once you know them, schedule dental exams with your dentist in advance.

When you make the most out of your benefits, you’re not leaving money on the table. Benefits will not roll over into next year, so once they are gone, they are gone for good! Make sure your oral health is on track and use your benefits to the maximum this year.

According to WebMD, read more about what is and is not (typically) covered by Dental Insurance. If you have questions about your dental insurance benefits or coverage, please give us a call at 210-633-3477 — we’d love to help you!

Dr. Gary P. Skrobanek’s experienced and friendly team at GPS Dental offers affordable dental care for all ages in San Antonio, TX area. Our Brooks City Base dentist office is conveniently located and offers early morning appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At GPS Dental, we promote dental health awareness to our patients and provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to dental implantssleep apneaTMJ / TMD Treatmentcosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at 210-633-3477 to make an appointment.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month: A Good Time to Visit Your Dentist for an Oral Cancer Screening

oral-cancer-screening

Oral health professionals and those affected by oral cancer work diligently to advocate for education and prevention; especially during April, as it is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Although this month is especially important in educating individuals on what oral cancer looks like and the available preventative steps that can lower risk, to include scheduling your oral cancer screening; it’s vital that people monitor their oral health year-round.

Oral cancer can affect anyone, making it critical that you know what warning signs and symptoms point to the early stages of various types of oral cancer.

Oral Cancer: The Statistics

Did you know that over 9,000 women and 21,000 men in the United States receive an oral cancer diagnoses each year; that statistic is according to the National Cancer Institute.

According to the American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates for oral cancer diagnoses in 2019, just in the United States are:

  • Approximately 53,000 people will get oral cancer
  • An estimated 10,860 people will die from this disease

Oral cancer typically strikes in the mouth and throat beginning in the flat cells, or squamous cells, that cover the surfaces of the mouth, tongue and lips.

What Adds to the Risk Factors for Oral Cancer?

  • Tobacco Use
  • Heavy Alcohol Consumption
  • Infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Sun Exposure
  • Betel Nut Use
  • Personal History of Oral Cancer
Here’s a side-note … 
during my research for this blog, I had to ask,
“What is a Betel Nut?”
The information I discovered is disturbing:

Betel nuts are found across Asia, growing in palm trees. They’re used so widely, they’re one of the most popular mind-altering substances in the world. People chew on the nut and the leaf together to get high. Supposedly, it’s like a combination of tobacco and a lot of caffeine.

When they are chewed, the nuts give user a rush of stamina and euphoria. Excessive chewing causes discolored or even loss of teeth and oral cancer. Unfortunately, they’re not very difficult to purchase in the U.S. because they are not illegal or banned at this time.

Even though the betel nut is not a controlled substance, it can be illegal to import, especially wholesale. They can be dangerous, and the World Health Organization has labeled the betel nut as a carcinogen.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Patches inside the mouth or on the lips
  • Sore on the mouth or lips that just doesn’t heal
  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Pain or difficulty swallowing
  • Lump in the neck
  • Numbness of lower lip and chin
  • Difficulty wearing dentures
  • Persistent earache

Visit your dentist or physician immediately for an oral cancer screening if you have any of these symptoms.

The death rate associated with oral and oropharyngeal cancers remains particularly high because the cancers routinely are discovered late in their development. Fortunately, when oral and oropharyngeal cancers are detected (most commonly through an oral cancer screening) and treated early, mortality and treatment-related health problems are reduced.

What Can Be Done to Prevent Oral Cancer?

Your best bet in catching oral cancer during its early stages is with a regular oral cancer screening performed by a trusted oral health professional, like Dr. Gary Skrobanek and his expert team at GPS Dental in San Antonio. They have the knowledge and experience to identify potential symptoms of various types of oral cancer and can connect you with the medical services you need.

Related Article: Oral Cancer Screening – You Need to Know!

In addition to an oral cancer screening during each of your dental appointments from Dr. Skrobanek, you can complete self-directed oral inspections. Inspect your mouth monthly for the warning signs listed above. For a more complete and thorough inspection, you can use a small light and mirror to see otherwise blocked areas. Upon finding anything suspicious, immediately contact your oral health professional.

Related Article: Why We Perform Oral Cancer Screenings during Dental Checkups

Dentists and doctors alike will also recommend that people cut out tobacco use completely, as it is known to impact your overall health negatively. At GPS Dental, we’re dedicated to helping our patients maintain a healthy mouth and a healthy life. To schedule your oral cancer screening, contact us today.

Additional Resources:

Dr. Gary P. Skrobanek is a dental implant dentist and his experienced, friendly team at GPS Dental offer affordable family dentistry and gentle dental care in the San Antonio, TX area. Our Brooks City Base dentist office is conveniently located and offers early morning appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At GPS Dental, we provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to dental implantssleep apneaTMJ / TMD Treatmentcosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at (210) 633-3477 to make an appointment.

Get Your Oral Cancer Screening – April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

oral-cancer-screeningDon’t wait until April, Get Your Oral Cancer Screening Today!

During April oral health professionals and those affected by oral cancer work diligently to advocate for education and prevention; as its Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Although this month is especially important in educating individuals on what oral cancer looks like and the available preventative steps that can lower risk, it’s vital that people monitor their oral health year-round.

Oral cancer can affect anyone, making it critical that you know what warning signs and symptoms point to the early stages of various types of oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Screening: Are There Detectable Early Signs of Oral Cancer?

There are a variety of different warning signs and early-stage symptoms associated with oral cancer. However, it’s important to note that oral cancer is a broad term for a wider range of cancer that occurs in the mouth. The common types of oral cancer include:

  •      Sinus cancer
  •      Throat cancer
  •      Lip cancer
  •      Tongue cancer
  •      Cancer in the cheeks
  •      Cancer in the hard and soft palates of the mouth

With regular oral cancer screening appointments, there are significant symptoms of oral cancer that can be detected by your oral health professional.

These warning signs and symptoms include:

  •      Oral bleeding in any area of the mouth.
  •      Irregular bumps or rough patches on the lips or inside the oral cavity.
  •      A loss of sensation or persistent numbness on the tongue, neck, face, or mouth.
  •      Difficulty chewing, swallowing, talking, or moving the jaw in any fashion.
  •      A recurring sore throat.
  •      Patches or areas of the mouth that are discolored.

Oral Cancer Screening: What Causes Oral Cancer?

Education is key and we like to take advantage of the additional emphasis that April has to focus on Oral Cancer Awareness Month, so let’s discuss the causes. There are many reasons that oral cancer can develop in a person, but there are some factors that can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Along with many other harmful diseases, tobacco use can negatively impact your health, including in your mouth. Regular and heavy alcohol consumption is another factor associated with an increased risk of oral cancer.

Poor diet, HIV infection, UV rays, and poor oral hygiene also negatively impact your health and increase your risk of developing oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Screening: What Can Be Done to Prevent Oral Cancer?

Your best bet in catching oral cancer during its early stages is with a regular oral cancer screening performed by a trusted oral health professional, like Dr. Gary Skrobanek and his expert team at GPS Dental in San Antonio. They have the knowledge and experience to identify potential symptoms of various types of oral cancer and can connect you with the medical services you need.

Related Article: Oral Cancer Screening – You Need to Know!

In addition to an oral cancer screening during each of your dental appointments from Dr. Skrobanek, you can complete self-directed oral inspections. Inspect your mouth monthly for the warning signs listed above. For a more complete and thorough inspection, you can use a small light and mirror to see otherwise blocked areas. Upon finding anything suspicious, immediately contact your oral health professional.

Related Article: Why We Perform Oral Cancer Screenings during Dental Checkups

Dentists and doctors alike will also recommend that people cut out tobacco use completely, as it is known to impact your overall health negatively. At GPS Dental, we’re dedicated to helping our patients maintain a healthy mouth and a healthy life. To schedule your oral cancer screening, contact us today.

Dr. Gary P. Skrobanek is a dental implant dentist and his experienced, friendly team at GPS Dental offer affordable family dentistry and gentle dental care in the San Antonio, TX area. Our Brooks City Base dentist office is conveniently located and offers early morning appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At GPS Dental, we provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to dental implantssleep apneaTMJ / TMD Treatmentcosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at (210) 633-3477 to make an appointment.

Oral Cancer Screening at Your 6-Month Dental Appointment

oral-cancer-screening

Is November the Forgotten Month? 

As the eleventh month of the year, November is something of a time of transition and perhaps a pre-curser to the busy upcoming holiday season, thus November may resemble the proverbial “calm before the storm.” Apart from Thanksgiving of course, for many this might truly be the case as with Christmas and New Year’s on the horizon, November often seems to come and go without much notice.

However, this has recently began to change, as the dental industry has given the month of November a very important reason to be both noted and remembered by folks everywhere. Although this new distinction may still be catching on with the general public, thus far it has proven itself to be a worthy if not, a lifesaving cause!

Oral Cancer VS Professional Dentistry…

Oral Cancer Screening: Why Does It Matter?

As you probably know, cancer in all its forms is an extremely serious and potentially life-threatening illness; however, there are but few types of cancer that are more worrisome than that of oral cancer. Oral cancer is a particularly aggressive type of cancer that can manifest within the throat, cheeks, lips, or tongue, and may continue to spread throughout the body.

In response to this, as of 2003 November 1st through the 31st has been officially named “Mouth Cancer Action and Awareness Month” among the dental community. While this may be the first you’ve heard of this, it definitely won’t be the last and you can rest assured it is certainly a cause worth knowing about. With an annual death toll of approximately 7,500 deaths occurring within the U.S. alone, oral cancer is clearly a serious problem. However the field of professional dentistry has proven itself as something of a enemy to this treacherous illness, by providing patients with an oral cancer screening.

The oral cancer screening may in fact be the dental profession’s best kept secret, as many patients are unaware that they are receiving the screening even as it happens! An oral cancer screening, is a quick and painless procedure that Dr. Skrobanek at GPS Dental preforms as part of your standard dental exam. Therefore, when you come in for your routine dental checkup, you are simultaneously receiving an accurate screening for any early signs or symptoms of oral cancer, which is something that can be a deciding factor. Identifying and treating oral cancer within its earliest stages is often the best bet in fully overcoming the disease, as the cancer is not given the time to cause damage and spread, therefore it is paramount that you let Dr. Skrobanek take the time to give you that crucial oral cancer screening during your dental appointment!

Oral Cancer Screening: Related Articles

Dental Insurance Benefits: The Clock Is Ticking!

While November has been designated as oral health month, what you should also realize is that if you haven’t already, the sooner you schedule your routine dental exam/oral cancer screening the better!  While certainly all dental insurance companies provide their own individual health and/or dental plans, as a general rule of thumb the vast majority of insurance providers adhere to the recommended six-month appointment rule that Dr. Skrobanek encourages. The six-month dental appointment rule is the notion that in order to truly provide patients with the best possible care in preventative dentistry, that all patients should plan on having at least two routine dental exams per year, with an approximant six-month gap between appointments. In compliance with this, dental insurance companies typically provide coverage for the two yearly preventative exams, providing that the patient uses them. However, if the coverage for two appointments goes unused, you may find yourself spending extra money on something you didn’t even use, (as dental coverage does not carry over from year to year) and surely nobody likes to be wasteful! Therefore if you have yet to use one or both of your covered exams, using them now would probably be in your best interest, because they certainly won’t last forever!

What To Remember This November!

As the year begins to draw to a close, and we enter the holiday season, obviously there will much to do and think about. However, before November, (as it often does) slips by without so much as a peep, we highly encourage you to consider the significance of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, by taking the time (if you haven’t already) to schedule your routine checkup/oral cancer screening.

Remember while those precious insurance benefits won’t last for long, a healthy and cancer-free mouth will, so schedule your dental appointment now!

Dr. Gary P. Skrobanek and his experienced, friendly team at GPS Dental offer affordable family dentistry and gentle dental care in the San Antonio, TX area. Our Brooks City Base dentist office is conveniently located and offers early morning appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At GPS Dental, we provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to dental implantssleep apneaTMJ / TMD Treatmentcosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at (210) 633-3477 to make an appointment.