Your Questions Answered About Oral Cancer Screenings | Columbia SC Cosmetic Dentist

Oral cancer screenings are designed to identify a common condition and treat it early, when it is most  curable. Screening is a fast and painless process built into a regular dental examination. Here are  common questions and answers about oral cancers.  

How Common Is Oral Cancer? 

According to the Mayo Clinic, the lifetime risk of developing cancer of the oral cavity and the upper throat  (oropharynx) is about 1 in 60 for men and 1 in 140 for women. The American Cancer Society estimates  that one person dies every hour worldwide from this condition, yet it is preventable and treatable.  

What Are the Symptoms? 

The most common red flags include a mouth sore that won’t heal; red or white patches in your mouth  tissue; lumps or swelling in or around your mouth; pain or difficulty swallowing, speaking, or moving your  tongue; dramatic weight loss; ear pain; and unexplained mouth bleeding.  

What are the Risk Factors for Oral Cancer? 

● Tobacco users are at greater risk of oral cancer, whether that is from smoking or products like  chewing tobacco, snuff, and dip  

● Heavy alcohol use, especially with tobacco use, significantly increases risk  

● Excess weight and acid reflux diseases can increase risk, while a diet rich in fruit and vegetables  appears to lower it  

● The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a risk factor that is on the rise among young people. One  strain, HPV16, is responsible for 2 out of 3 oropharyngeal cancers  

● Apart from HPV-related cancers, most oral cancers take years to develop. Most patients are older  than 55 when first diagnosed  

● Genetics can also factor into oral cancer risk. Two types of blood abnormalities, dyskeratosis  congenita and Fanconi anemia, elevate risk  

What Does a Dentist Look for in an Oral Cancer Screening? 

Dentists examine all oral cavity surfaces, including under the tongue, for suspicious discolorations or  sores. Using gloved hands, they feel inside the mouth for lumps or irregularities, and may also feel the  neck. Sometimes a dye or light is used to emphasize contrast between healthy and unhealthy tissue. If  anything looks suspicious, our dentist will recommend further testing. 

How Often Should Screenings be Performed? 

The American Cancer Society recommends dental screenings every three years from age 20 to 40, and  annual screenings after that.  

While screenings can’t prevent every case of oral cancer, they are a valuable first line of defense. If you  would like more information about oral cancer and screenings, contact Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia today.

Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia
Phone: (803) 738-1114
3261 Harrison Rd.
Columbia, SC 29204

What You Can Do About Periodontal Disease | Cosmetic Dentist in Columbia SC

Nearly half of adults have some form of periodontal (gum) disease, according to the Centers for Disease  Control and Prevention. It ranges from mild inflammation to a type that causes bone damage and even  tooth loss.  

Symptoms of periodontal disease include chronic halitosis (bad breath), sensitive teeth, red or swollen  gums, bleeding gums, and painful chewing. 

Causes of Periodontal Disease 

A major cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene habits. Your best defense is daily brushing and  flossing plus regular professional exams and cleanings. Without vigilant prevention, plaque can form on  the teeth and along the gumline. If this biofilm is not regularly removed, it can harden into a substance  called calculus (tartar), which only a dental professional can remove. 

When tartar continues to build, the risk of periodontal disease increases. Gums can become inflamed and  begin to bleed from brushing, flossing, and eating certain foods. At this point, advanced treatment is the  only way to prevent tooth loss. 

Other factors that may contribute to periodontal disease include diabetes, smoking, and pregnancy. A  healthy lifestyle and a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can help ward off periodontal disease when  combined with good oral hygiene.  

Some prescriptions can aggravate gum inflammation. They include antiseizure, immunosuppressant, and  blood pressure medicines called calcium channel blockers. Our doctor can provide preventive measures  to alleviate medication side-effects. 

Stages of Periodontal Disease 

There are four levels of periodontal disease, ranging from gingivitis to periodontitis. In the most severe  stage, gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets along the gumline. These spaces are  difficult to clean without professional intervention and can lead to rapid worsening in overall oral health.  Without prompt, expert treatment, periodontitis can destroy the jawbone, gums, and soft tissues.  

Treat Gum Disease Early 

Periodontal disease leads to more than tooth loss and jawbone thinning; research has linked it to several  health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, dementia, stroke, arthritis, and even some forms of  cancer.  

Overall, the worse periodontal disease gets, the more intense the treatment. If you have symptoms of  gum disease, contact our office to schedule a consultation. Our cosmetic dentist in Columbia SC can provide excellent care and  refer you to a specialist if needed.  

For more information on gum disease or to schedule an appointment, contact Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia.

Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia
Phone: (803) 738-1114
3261 Harrison Rd.
Columbia, SC 29204

We Are Here For You

Dr. Julia K. Mikell
Solo Practitioner

3261 Harrison Rd.
Columbia, SC 29204

(We are easy to find in Forest Acres at the corner of Harrison Rd. and Budon Ct., near the Zesto’s on Forest Drive.)

(803) 738-1114

Providing Dental Care
For Many Communities Including:

Forest Acres, Fort Jackson, Arcadia Lakes, Lake Katherine, Heathwood, Shandon, Rosewood, Downtown Columbia, Earlewood, Cottontown and the University of South Carolina

Hours:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 8:30 AM - 5 PM
Friday: Closed


  • South Carolina State Dental
  • America Dental Association
  • America Dental Association

Dentist in Forest Acres Columbia, SC

See What Our Patients are Saying About Us

Dentist in Columbia, SC

“My husband and I had our 1st appointment with Dr. Mikell today and we left there feeling like we absolutely made the right choice! She and her staff were professional, kind, competent, and very respectful to us. We feel like this was a fabulous start to a long and happy relationship!”

Erica R. Columbia, SC Dental Patient

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“Diamond Dental is a good place for your dental care . The staff there is great and friendly. I have recommended my friends there because I trust them with my dental care.”

Caesar A.

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“I really appreciate the staff at Diamond Dental, they're awesome! Dr. Mikell, DDS and Ms. Deborah know me and my kids by name and I feel like where going to visit family and not a dental appointment. We talk and catch up like ole buddies!”

Tabitha M.

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“Dr. Mikell and her staff are the best! I moved ten years ago, but still drive in to town to have her team take care of my smile. They are the nicest people you will ever find!”

Kurt S.

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“Julia and her entire amazing staff are top notch. From routine cleanings to more specific emergency situations, I truly trust this team to take care of me. I am so thankful specifically for their help with a fitted night guard. I sleep better and my teeth are protected! Highly recommend Diamond Dental Studios!”

Sarah S.

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