We all know that 2020 had its fair share of hardships and “new normals.” Between shutdowns and school closures, we all had to pivot away from life as we knew it. Your dentist in Sparks was no different. Patients stopped coming to the dentist, perhaps because we may have been closed or out of fear. But now that we’re all open and seeing patients, we’re learning some things that this past year has taught us that are important for our patients to know as well.
- Small Problems Become Big Problems
When a population starts to put off dental care, a lot of the typical prevention measures are lost. This often means that problems that were once small and easy to treat were left undiagnosed, untreated, and led to bigger problems. Something that may have started as a tiny cavity can turn into a large area of decay and cause pain. Someone who may have had early-stage gum disease now has full-blown advanced periodontal disease and are at risk for whole-health complications such as heart disease. This is why those preventive dental visits every six months are so important to keep your mouth, and your body, healthy.
- High-Risk Patients Need Dental Care
Even though many high-risk patients understandably shied away from seeing their dentist in Sparks in 2020, it’s this population that needs regular dental care the most. In fact, sometimes patients with certain health conditions are encouraged to see the dentist every three months instead of the regularly recommended six. But during the pandemic, patients weren’t getting a checkup for nine months or even a whole year. This resulted in more serious dental problems and complications that may have required a tooth extraction, root canal, or other treatments. What’s more is high-risk patients are more likely to suffer from more than one problem, which can compound the issues.
- Dentists in Sparks Are Safe
The early months of 2020 saw dental offices close, sometimes for a couple of months. In fact, the World Health Organization reports that dental offices were some of the most negatively affected health services during COVID-19. However, dentists are already required by law to have very strict sanitation practices and have added additional safety precautions such as gowns, better masks, and disinfection protocols above and beyond the already comprehensive standards. Additionally, once dental offices reopened, the FDI World Dental Federation reported that dental offices around the globe had significantly lower infection rates of COVID-19 than other healthcare workers.
So what does all of this mean? Essentially, it means that dental care is essential. It’s essential to keeping our communities healthy, preventing small problems from turning into big problems, and that it’s even more important for high-risk patients to be seen by their dentist in Sparks twice a year. What’s more, dentists can see patients safely.
Don’t put your dental health on the backburner. Call us to schedule an appointment today.
Mouth cancer, also known as oral cancer, affects more than 50,000 newly diagnosed people every year. It’s scary, it’s serious, and it can be deadly. However, it’s not all bad news. In fact, oral cancer can be treated successfully if it’s caught early and treatment begins quickly. To do this, your dentist in Sparks, as well as yourself, need to check for signs of oral cancer often. But what exactly should you look for?
Oral Cancer Signs & Symptoms
Some of the early signs of oral cancer can easily be confused with other non-serious oral health conditions. This is one thing that can make oral cancer tricky to catch. However, if any of the signs and symptoms below don’t go away within 2-3 weeks, schedule an appointment with your Sparks dentist to get checked out.
- Chronic cough
- Changes in voice
- Difficulty swallowing
- An earache on one side
- A hard lump in the soft tissues
- Swollen tonsil on one side without pain
- A painless lump on the outside of the neck
- Any sore that doesn’t heal itself within 2-weeks
- Discoloration in the mouth including a red, white, or black appearance
Check Your Mouth Initiative
Created by The Oral Cancer Foundation, the Check Your Mouth public health initiative was designed to help people self-identify potential abnormalities in the mouth. Now, while this tool is incredibly helpful for those at-home checks, they don’t replace your dentist. The best way to truly diagnose oral cancer is through your dentist in Sparks. This is one reason why bi-annual dental visits are so important as they allow your dental team to see any changes that may have occurred since your last appointment and treat them appropriately.
Reduce The Risk
Oral cancer can happen to anyone at any time. But there are a few people who are at increased risk of developing oral cancer, including:
- People 50 or older — Oral cancer tends to be most prominent after 50.
- Current or former tobacco users — 80% of those who get oral cancer either currently use tobacco or did at one time.
- Heavy drinkers — Another habit that can increase the risk of oral cancer is drinking alcohol heavily. Nearly 70% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are heavy drinkers.
- Men — Men are more likely to develop oral cancer than women.
If you’re overdue for a dental visit or have an area of concern, we welcome you to schedule an appointment at our Sparks dental office today. We’re always happy to help!