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Hamilton Family Dentistry
Mon-Thu 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri 8:00 am - 3:00 pm
222 Chambless Ln Hamilton, GA 31811
Mon-Thu 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri 8:00 am - 3:00 pm
222 Chambless Ln Hamilton, GA 31811
(706) 810-2136

Your Dentist in Harris County Wants to Help You Catch Cancer Early!

March 4th, 2021

You may not realize, but your dentist in Harris County can catch certain diseases sooner than even general practitioners! This is because diseases like oral cancer originate in the mouth and throat, so every time you visit your dentist, you’ll be more prepared to catch cancer early.

To celebrate Oral Cancer Awareness Month this April, he wanted to highlight important facts about oral cancer and how he works to protect patients during every routine exam.

How Prevalent is Oral Cancer?

According to the American Academy of Oral Medicine, oral and oropharyngeal cancer collectively kill nearly one person every hour of every day of the year. That’s about 9,000 people every year dying from oral cancer alone. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons notes that about 50,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed every year, with 40 percent of those newly diagnosed not living past five years.

Keep in mind that those who do survive oral cancer typically have long-term side effects, including significant facial disfigurements and difficulty speaking and eating. The death rate for oral cancer is particularly high because patients don’t realize they have it until late in development. This makes it much harder to treat. Therefore, it’s important to know your risk factors, so you can plan accordingly. Those with high risk factors may want to visit the dentist more often or consider changes in their daily habits.

Am I at Risk?

Many risk factors are based on habits, so it is possible to lower your risk of oral cancer on your own. However, some factors are also based on genetics. For example, having a history of cancer in your family or being male automatically makes your risk go up. If you carry any of the following risk factors and haven’t had a recent dental exam from your dentist, consider scheduling an appointment soon. They include:

  • Using tobacco products
  • Drinking alcohol excessively
  • Being over 40 years of age
  • Prolonged exposure to UV rays (i.e. sunlight or tanning beds)

Additionally, patients infected with HPV, the human papillomavirus, are at higher risk of developing oropharyngeal cancer.

How Can I Protect Myself?

During your routine dental checkups, your dentist in Harris County performs a quick and painless analysis to protect patients from potentially deadly diseases like oral cancer. During the exam, he’ll take note of:

  • Red or white patches
  • Sores that bleed continuously or fail to heal (especially after two weeks)
  • Lumps, bumps, thickening tissues and rough spots

You’ll also want to tell him of any soreness, hoarseness, or difficulty you have swallowing, chewing, speaking, or moving your jaw and tongue. If you notice pain, tenderness, or numbness in your mouth or lips, tell your dentist. You can also benefit from practicing monthly self-exams at home by examining your mouth and throat for these symptoms.

Even if you don’t believe you’re at risk, 25 percent of those diagnosed each year don’t engage in high risk behavior. Schedule an appointment with your dentist today!

About the Author

Dr. Alan Arrington earned his dental degree at the Medical College of Georgia. If you think you have symptoms of oral cancer, don’t hesitate to contact him at (706) 628-0011 or visit his website to schedule an appointment and confirm your oral health status!

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FAQ

  • How often should I visit your office?

    We recommend patients visit our office two times each year for dental checkups.  These preventative visits arte the standard in care as set forth by the American Dental Association and this is typically frequent enough to prevent most oral health concerns and diagnose others in the earliest stages.
  • What is periodontal disease?

    Gum (periodontal) disease is a common oral health concern that occurs when plaque and tartar buildup irritates gum tissue and breaks down soft tissue and supportive jawbone structure leading to a number of oral health concerns.  We offer a variety of periodontal therapy options to renew oral health for patients suffering from gum disease.
  • Can I call you during dental emergencies?

    We are happy to help patients during dental emergencies.  Don’t heistate to contact us right away.  We provide same day appointments whenever possible and are happy to walk you through first aid and pain management over the phone.
  • Can I bring my kids to Hamilton Family Dentistry?

    Absolutely.  We’re happy to provide pediatric dental care for young patients and we offer a variety of treatments specifically geared toward patients with growing smiles.
  • I get nervous at the dentist. What can you do to help?

    In addition to treating each patient with the level of kindness and compassion they deserve, we also offer a variety of sedation dentistry solutions to help patients stay relaxed and pain free from the moment they arrive.
  • How will I know if I have a root canal infection?

    The doctor will need to examine your tooth to find out for sure, but contact us right away if you experience any of the following common warning signs of root canal infection:
    • Severe toothache
    • Sensitivity to changes in temperature
    • Discoloration of a single tooth
    • Infection in the gums around a tooth
  • Do you offer financing plans?

    We are happy to work with qualified patients to find low or no interest payment plans through two third party dentistry financiers, CareCredit and Lending Club.  Please ask us if you qualify for our financing options at your next appointment.
  • How often should I visit your office?
    image description
    We recommend patients visit our office two times each year for dental checkups.  These preventative visits arte the standard in care as set forth by the American Dental Association and this is typically frequent enough to prevent most oral health concerns and diagnose others in the earliest stages.
  • What is periodontal disease?
    image description
    Gum (periodontal) disease is a common oral health concern that occurs when plaque and tartar buildup irritates gum tissue and breaks down soft tissue and supportive jawbone structure leading to a number of oral health concerns.  We offer a variety of periodontal therapy options to renew oral health for patients suffering from gum disease.
  • Can I call you during dental emergencies?
    image description
    We are happy to help patients during dental emergencies.  Don’t heistate to contact us right away.  We provide same day appointments whenever possible and are happy to walk you through first aid and pain management over the phone.
  • Can I bring my kids to Hamilton Family Dentistry?
    image description
    Absolutely.  We’re happy to provide pediatric dental care for young patients and we offer a variety of treatments specifically geared toward patients with growing smiles.
  • I get nervous at the dentist. What can you do to help?
    image description
    In addition to treating each patient with the level of kindness and compassion they deserve, we also offer a variety of sedation dentistry solutions to help patients stay relaxed and pain free from the moment they arrive.
  • How will I know if I have a root canal infection?
    image description
    The doctor will need to examine your tooth to find out for sure, but contact us right away if you experience any of the following common warning signs of root canal infection:
    • Severe toothache
    • Sensitivity to changes in temperature
    • Discoloration of a single tooth
    • Infection in the gums around a tooth
  • Do you offer financing plans?
    image description
    We are happy to work with qualified patients to find low or no interest payment plans through two third party dentistry financiers, CareCredit and Lending Club.  Please ask us if you qualify for our financing options at your next appointment.