I came across the following story while doing my daily catch-up on dental news. It really resonated with me, and I was compelled to share it with anyone who would listen. Going to the dentist isn’t just an inconvenience. It isn’t just an annoying chore that should be done a couple of times a year. It isn’t something that can wait. It isn’t a task for “some other day.” Visiting your dentist can save your life. Literally. Please read the story below, and if you haven’t come by to see us in a while, call us as soon as you’re done.
Original story from Dentistry Today:
It Only Takes a Moment to Detect Oral Cancer
By: Dr. Wayne Kerr
It should have been a great day. Not only was Christmas just around the corner, but my best friend was my last hygiene appointment of the morning, and we were going to grab lunch together. As I eagerly opened the reception room door to greet my buddy, however, it became immediately apparent that my plans would change.
Even at a distance, I could see a significant lump on the side of my dear friend’s neck, and I directed him to my consultation room rather than to hygiene. Our last appointment together had been in June, and I wanted to know about the lump. It had appeared in October, I was told, and his physician advised him he suspected lymphoma. A PET scan had been ordered, but, 2 months later, he was still waiting for permission from his insurance company to have the procedure.
The lump, of course, was an enlarged deep cervical lymph node. With a sense of dread, we moved to the operatory where I palpated his neck and examined the oral cavity. And there it was: a squamous cell carcinoma on the right lateral border of his tongue. When I asked my good friend if his doctor had been at all suspicious about the lesion, his response was that his doctor never examined his mouth! Amazing!
We made alginate impressions poured with “snap stone” and fabricated custom fluoride trays during his hygiene appointment. He left our office with four tubes of Colgate PreviDent gel and instructions on the use of his trays. Two days later, I was on the phone with my friend’s oncologist discussing his diagnosis and recommended treatment. His therapy would require surgery and 30 rounds of radiation.
The regimen was brutal. Before it was all over, my best friend would lose 30 pounds and be fed through a port, as swallowing was both painful and difficult. His recovery was slow and challenging, but recover he did. And he’s alive today, because he had a preventive care appointment with his dentist.
The oral cancer screening is, of course, an integral part of every patient’s dental hygiene visit. Taking just a moment to complete, it can impact a patient for a lifetime. As a famous shoe manufacturer once said, “Just do it!”
Oral cancer screenings are vital to catching the disease early. Miami Dental Sedation Spa is now offering oral cancer screenings as part of their annual exam protocol. To find out more, please visit our website, and don’t delay in making your next dental appointment.