An oral cavity cancer that spreads to the jawbone typically results in jaw cancer, which is a rare type of head and neck cancer. Our dentist in West Columbia understands how unsettling it can be to receive a diagnosis of jaw cancer. We believe, however, that being educated, prepared, and proactive can help ensure the best possible outcome.
Symptoms of Jaw Cancer
The majority of jaw cancers are benign, which means they do not spread to surrounding tissues. Occasionally, jaw cancers can be aggressive, spreading to surrounding structures and causing serious health complications.
Jaw cancer is characterized by four symptoms:
- Jaw Pain: The majority of jaw pain is attributed to TMJ disorder. However, it is imperative to visit a dental professional to exclude the possibility of oral cancer if you experience jaw pain. Occasionally, aggressive jaw tumors may spread to surrounding bone and tissues, resulting in tooth displacement, which is often painful.
- Jaw Swelling: One of the most significant symptoms of jaw cancer is swelling in the jaw area that can be seen on the side of the face. The swelling may also occur on the roof of the mouth or beneath the teeth, depending on where the tumor is located.
- Lumps on the jaw: An enlarged lump on the roof of the mouth or on the gums should be evaluated by a dentist if it does not resolve within two weeks. There may be lumps associated with infections or benign growths, but they can also be caused by cancer of the jawbone.
- Loose teeth: Squamous cell carcinoma, which can reach the jawbone through tooth sockets, is the most common type of malignant jaw cancer. A jawbone tumor may cause your teeth to move out of place, causing them to loosen. Whenever you notice that a tooth is loose, you should seek immediate assistance.
How Does Jaw Cancer Develop?
Smoking and chewing tobacco products are the leading causes of jaw cancer. Furthermore, poor nutrition, poor oral hygiene, genetics, excessive alcohol consumption, and viruses such as HPV are all risk factors.
What Can You Do to Reduce the Risk of Jaw Cancer?
Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, eating a balanced, nutritious diet, and maintaining a meticulous oral hygiene regimen are all effective ways to reduce the risk of jaw and other oral cancers. Make sure you visit our dental office twice a year for dental exams and cleanings. We are always on the lookout for signs of oral or jaw cancer so that early intervention can be provided, if necessary, to ensure the best possible outcome.
Contact our dentist in West Columbia SC to schedule your next dental exam and cleaning. To rule out any abnormalities, we will perform an oral cancer screening. You can always count on our team for exceptional service and care. Make an appointment with Columbia Smile Center today!