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Oral Cancer Or Periodontal Disease?

When you notice an unusual and painful condition in your mouth, and in particular on your periodontal tissue (gums), it is no wonder if you feel alarmed. There is the possibility, after all, that it could be a symptom and sign of some form of oral cancer.
But the fact is, in the vast majority of cases, it (thankfully) turns out not to be oral cancer. Instead, it very well may be some form and stage of periodontal (gum) disease. In that case, you will need to get it treated and practice good oral hygiene going forward to prevent a re-infection – but at least there is no cancer involved.

Symptoms Of Oral Cancer
If you even suspect you may have oral cancer, you should waste no time in scheduling a screening session with a qualified periodontist. Delay can be fatal. Catching it early greatly increases the odds of beating it.

But even at home, you can look for the following symptoms:

  • Unexplained lumps, bumps, or eroded areas within your mouth on the soft tissue.
  • White, red, or white-and-red spots on the gums.
  • Unusual bleeding in your mouth. Note that periodontal disease can also cause bleeding of the gums.
  • Parts of your mouth feel numb, hyper-sensitive, or painful.
  • Your oral cavity feels sore, and you may feel like something is stuck in the back of your throat.
  • It is painful or difficult to speak, chew, and swallow.
  • Accompanying pain in the ear, hoarseness of voice, or sudden loss of weight.
  • Your teeth suddenly seem misaligned, or your dentures no longer fit properly.

If these sorts of symptoms, particularly sores and lumps on the gums or on other inner-mouth soft tissue, don’t clear up within two weeks’ time, then you should definitely see your periodontist for an oral cancer screening.

Symptoms Of Gum Disease
We’ve looked a little at the major symptoms of mouth and throat cancer, but what about gum disease? To really get a good idea which of these two may be the real problem, you need to also compare your condition with common gum disease symptoms – including these:

  • Red, swollen, or sore areas on your gum tissue.
  • Your gums bleed when you brush your teeth or even sometimes when you eat.
  • Your gum line is noticeably receding, and there are pockets of several millimeters or more that extend below the gums.
  • You suffer from chronic bad breath – called “halitosis” in dental talk.
  • The gum tissue is painful and/or hyper-sensitive.
  • White pus may extrude out of infected gum tissues in extreme cases.
  • If left untreated for long enough, gum disease can make teeth become loose. It can even lead to tooth loss.

Some of the symptoms of gum disease are similar to those of oral cancer, but others are quite different. Taking stock of all of your known symptoms, therefore, will normally clarify things. But you should also get a diagnosis from a professional periodontist to be sure.

If you are concerned about the possibility of your having mouth or throat cancer or periodontal disease, contact Dr. Raymond A. Kenzik in Ormond Beach, Florida, today to schedule an exam. He is a skilled periodontist and has deep experience in conducting full mouth/throat/lip cancer screenings as well as in diagnosing and treating all forms/stages of gum disease.

Located in Beautiful Ormond Beach

Ormond Beach Periodontics and Implant Dentistry is conveniently located off of Nova Road in Ormond Beach, Florida. We help seniors, adults, and teenagers smile with confidence.