The Warning Signs of Oral Cancer

When you get screened for oral cancer at our Bellevue dental clinic, we’re looking for unhealthy tissues developing in your lips, on your tongue, inside your cheeks, on the floor of your mouth or on your hard palate. The processes we use are easy and reliable, but there is also a lot you can be doing to look out for cancerous growths between your regular dental check-ups. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms, and call your dentist right away if you think you are in danger:

  • Unusual lumps, swollen areas, rough spots, crusts, or eroded regions on the lips or anywhere inside the mouth.
  • Velvety white or red patches in the mouth, or a speckled white and red patch.
  • Inexplicable bleeding in the mouth.
  • Numbness or loss of feeling in the face, mouth, neck, or ear.
  • Inexplicable pain or tenderness in the face, mouth, neck or ear.
  • Sores in the face, neck or mouth area that bleed easily and persist for at least two weeks.
  • A sore throat, or a feeling that you have something caught in the back of your throat.
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving your jaw or tongue.
  • Persistent hoarseness.
  • Slurred speech or other changes in your voice.
  • A change in the alignment of your teeth.
  • Weight loss.
  • A lump in your neck.

The Cavity Myth

No Pain? No Cavity? It’s a myth!

Far too many people still think that no pain means no cavities. This is an unfortunate myth. The truth is that your best bet is to get into your Bellevue dental clinic before the pain starts, or else you could be facing damage far beyond a simple filling.

The important thing to realize is that much of your tooth doesn’t feel pain. The only nerve in your tooth is found in the soft, inner “pulp” that is encased in the thick, rock-like structure that makes up the rest of your tooth. This unfeeling part is where decay starts. In fact, once your oral bacteria have managed to break a hole through the tiny layer of enamel at your tooth’s surface, you will need treatment.

Prevention is Key

Pain usually doesn’t come until the rot has gone all the way through the dentin and into the pulp. At this point, you’re in root canal country. You’re unlikely to be aware of tooth decay until it reaches this stage, so the only thing to do is to get your regular check-ups and catch your cavities before they get too far.

Scraping Your Tongue

Brushing and flossing is an important place to start with your oral hygiene, but it’s not the end. After all, plaque can adhere to any surface in your mouth. This includes your tongue; the surface of your tongue is coated in bacteria that has just as much potential to rot your gums or enamel as that found on your teeth.

Cleaning Your Tongue

The good news is that cleaning your tongue is a fairly simple part of your oral care routine. You can remove the plaque and detritus that gathers on your tongue by gently brushing the surface with your toothbrush once a day.

Tongue Scrapers

There are also special tools designed specifically for scraping your tongue, which many people find more comfortable for scraping closer to the throat. You can find tongue scrapers sold in most dental aisles, and occasionally built into the handle of your toothbrush.

You can learn more about scraping your tongue or otherwise practicing proper dental care at Bellevue Overlake Dental. Contact our Bellevue dentist office today to schedule an appointment.

Do I Need to Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom Tooth Extraction

It’s a common misconception that everyone needs to have a wisdom tooth extraction. Our Bellevue dental clinic frequently removes wisdom teeth for many reasons, but these reasons don’t apply to everyone.

First of all, not everyone will even get their full set of wisdom teeth. Some people will only get a couple of the possible four wisdom teeth, and some lucky individuals will get none at all. These teeth generally erupt around the age of seventeen or eighteen, so if you’ve reached adulthood without seeing any additional molars in the back of your mouth, you’re probably in the clear.

Ask our Dentist at Overlake Dental

Of the people who do get wisdom teeth, not everyone will need to have them removed. It’s true that the average human mouth cannot accommodate a full set of thirty-two teeth, but there are exceptions.

You should always have your dentist evaluate your mouth to determine whether or not your wisdom teeth are coming in wrong, crowding your other teeth, or otherwise throwing off your bite. Only then will you know if you need to have your wisdom teeth extracted.

The Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Our Bellevue dentist is pleased to be able to offer sleep apnea treatment. This unfortunate condition affects the lives of many Americans, sometimes even fatally so. One of the worst parts about it is that it’s very difficult to diagnose, and many people are not even aware that they are suffering from it.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea describes a disorder by which you routinely stop breathing while you sleep, forcing your brain to kick in and start the process again. This means a night of interrupted sleep, robbing you of a lot of much-needed rest that you might not even realize you lost.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

If you think you might have sleep apnea, look for the following symptoms:

  • You snore loudly.
  • Your partner reports that you occasionally stop breathing while you sleep.
  • You sometimes wake suddenly, choking or gasping for air.
  • You frequently wake up with a dry, sore throat in the morning.
  • You sleep restlessly, or suffer from insomnia.
  • You are unusually sleepy during the day, even if you got a full night’s sleep.
  • You suffer from frequent headaches in the morning.
  • You experience forgetfulness and changes in mood.

To find out more about sleep apnea and to explore your options for getting treatment, contact us at Overlake Dental in Bellevue.