On February 4th, World Cancer Day helped raise awareness about cancer, the second leading cause of death worldwide. CADH wants to support the cause by helping dental assistants identify symptoms of oral cancer. Oral cancer appears as a sore in the mouth that doesn’t go away. It may affect the tongue, floor of the mouth, sinuses, lips, cheeks, hard and soft palate, and the pharynx.
At CADH, we provide hands-on training in dental care and oral health management to prepare you to assist dentists with many different tasks.
Read on to discover important tips for identifying symptoms of oral cancer!
Identifying a Sore or Lump After Your Dental Assistant Diploma
One of the major signs of oral cancer is a sore or a lump inside the mouth that does not heal or go away. Clients may feel swelling or thickening, rough spots, bumps, or worn-out areas of the gums, lips, cheek, as well as other areas around the mouth that are not clearly visible. For clients, being able to identify these signs can be quite difficult, which is why it is important that after your dental assistant diploma, you help dentists identify these signs when examining a client’s teeth and mouth during their dental appointment. At CADH, you’ll be prepared to assess a client’s mouth and teeth, and communicate important findings to the dentist.
Unexplained and Persistent Bleeding and Numbness
Some oral cancer signs may seem difficult to identify, unless the client realizes that these symptoms have become persistent and has a conversation with their doctor or dentist. These signs consist of constant unexplained bleeding in the mouth, which didn’t occur before, and unexplained numbness or loss of feeling, accompanied by pain or tenderness, in any area of the neck or face. Using your familiarity with oral facial sciences, developed during your dental assisting training, you’ll be able to listen to your clients and deduce if anything is wrong, as well as communicate this important information to the dentist, so that any troubling signs can be addressed promptly.
Soreness, Difficulty Chewing and Swallowing and Hoarseness
As a dental assistant, you can tell if something is wrong with your clients when they express some uncommon signs of discomfort around the throat area that have been ongoing for a long time. When you understand these signs based on your client’s explanation, you can communicate this information to the dentist. Some of these signs consist of soreness in the throat, difficulty chewing or swallowing, difficulty moving the tongue or jaw, as well as difficulty speaking. Another oral cancer sign is when a client experiences hoarseness, a change in voice, or a chronic sore throat.
Uncommon Signs Include Ear Pain, Jaw Swelling, and Unexplained Weight Loss
Clients may experience some uncommon and rare symptoms of oral cancer that give them discomfort. Ear pain is one uncommon sign of oral cancer. This kind of pain tends to radiate towards the cheeks and jaw. Clients might also experience swelling or pain in the jaw, and if they tend to use dentures, they may unexpectedly feel pain or discomfort when they put them on, or when their teeth or dentures don’t fit together like before. Another sign of oral cancer in clients is when they experience unexplained weight loss. If a client mentions that they’ve been losing weight unintentionally or you notice on their next visit that they have lost weight, then it could be advisable for them to speak with a doctor.
Are you ready to become a certified dental assistant?
Contact The Canadian Academy of Dental Hygiene today!