Oral Cancer: Early Diagnosis Makes A Big Difference

oral cancer screening La Mesa

When it comes to oral cancer survival outcomes, two numbers are key: 40% and 90%.

40% of individuals who receive a late-stage diagnosis die within five years. However, the survival rate for early stage diagnosis is 90%.

Oral Cavity and Oropharynx—Mouth and Throat

Cancers that start in the mouth (or oral cavity) are termed oral cancers. The oral cavity is comprised of the inside tissue of the mouth and cheeks, the lips, the tissue underneath the tongue, the roof of the mouth, and the front two-thirds of the tongue. “Why only two-thirds of the tongue?” you might ask. Because the back third of the tongue is considered part of the throat. Throat cancers, or oropharyngeal cancers, start in the oropharynx, the part of the mouth behind the parts considered part of the oral cavity. The oropharynx consists of the soft palate, the tonsils, and the throat.

How Are Oral Cancers Diagnosed?

Some oral cancers produce symptoms which prompt the patient to see a doctor and others are caught by your La Mesa dentist or doctor during exams. Thousands of lives could be saved every year if more individuals received regular screenings.

A visual oral cancer exam is relatively quick and convenient, especially as compared to other cancer screening tests such as colonoscopies and mammograms. If an abnormality is discovered during an exam, the patient is referred to an appropriate specialist for further testing and diagnosis.

Be proactive. Ask your dentist or doctor to complete an oral cancer screening during each examination or physical. If you have one or more risk factors, it’s essential to meet with your health care provider for counsel on oral cancer screenings and prevention.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

  • Tobacco use (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or snuff)
  • Heavy drinking
  • Unhealthy diet
  • HPV infection
  • Weak immune system
  • Frequent exposure to UV light (a risk factor for cancers of the lips)

To set up a dental oral cancer exam and general dentistry checkup, I invite you to call 619-717-8560.

Sources:
http://www.dentistrytoday.com/news/todays-dental-news/item/1882-awareness-is-the-key-to-fighting-oral-cancer#sthash.HhX8jCtf.dpuf
https://www.cancer.org/cancer/oral-cavity-and-oropharyngeal-cancer/about/what-is-oral-cavity-cancer.html

 

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry:

619-717-8560

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942


3 Reasons Not To Skip A Dental Checkup

cosmetic dental La Mesa

Life gets busy. Sometimes it seems impossible to keep up with everything you “gotta do”. At Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry, we understand that. But we encourage you to think twice before you cancel or postpone a general dentistry checkup because you think it’s less important than the other twenty items on your to-do list.

Twice-yearly dental exams are indispensable for keeping your smile in ideal shape!

“But my teeth feel fine.”
We’ve heard this excuse. The fact is that no news isn’t necessarily good news. Dental troubles can be progressing without you being aware of it.

1. Your Gums May Be Receding
Gum recession doesn’t happen all at once. Gum tissue can move back almost imperceptibly until teeth and bone are at risk.

2. Decay May Be Lurking
When the acids in plaque start drilling into a tooth, we usually don’t feel it until it has passed through the enamel and dentin and hits the nerve. Ouch! By that time, there is a crater in the tooth. Regular cleanings remove plaque before it can do any damage.

3. Prevent Oral Cancer
About 50,000 men and women will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year.1 Dr. Gray will screen for oral cancer during your exam. As with all types of cancer, early diagnosis is indispensable.

After your entire mouth has been examined, Dr. Gray will detail what is necessary moving forward. Whether that’s flossing more often or discussing major fixes such as invisible braces, we will be sure that you get all the information you need to ensure your smile is bright and beautiful! Scheduling twice-yearly exams with Jeff Gray at Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry will ensure you avoid extreme dental troubles.

1http://oralcancerfoundation.org/

 

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry:

619-717-8560

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942


Teen Teeth: Adolescent Oral Health

 adolescent dental issues

If you are a teenager or the parent of a teenager, today’s Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry post is for you. Today’s post discusses dental issues of special concern to adolescents. Dental risks for La Mesa teens include both developmental and lifestyle-related factors.

At Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry, we see cavities and gum disease far too often in teens. Possible causes and complicating circumstances include insufficient dental hygiene, unhealthy diet, malocclusion (misaligned bite), smoking, hormonal changes, tooth grinding, mouth breathing, eating disorders, and side effects of medications.

As children become more independent, some get lax about brushing and flossing. Furthermore, some teens’ diets become worse when they have more freedom to choose what to eat. Few parents let their four year-old drink an energy drink, but they are consumed frequently by La Mesa teenagers – presumably without their parents’ knowledge.

Malocclusion can make proper brushing and flossing problematic, leaving even vigilant brushers with decay from food particles that are almost impossible to remove. Malocclusion can also trigger TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) issues. If you suspect that your teen’s bite is not aligned properly, or if your teen notices a clicking sound in the jaw joint, call Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry at 619-717-8560 to schedule a general dentistry exam.

In spite of numerous California public service campaigns aimed at preventing teen smoking, many adolescents take up the dangerous habit even before they graduate from high school. Smoking wrecks teeth as surely as it wrecks lungs.

La Mesa parents of teenagers are well aware that puberty has a significant impact on physical and emotional health. Puberty causes all sorts of changes in the body, and the mouth is no exception. Increased hormone levels (especially in females) can cause the body to react to a very small amount of plaque, triggering inflammation of gum tissue and increased risk of the more advanced form of gum disease known as periodontitis. Your dentist can guide you if more frequent professional cleanings are required to preserve gum health.

If you visit any soccer field or basketball court in California, you will see that many young athletes fail to protect their teeth. If your adolescent participates in a contact sport, communicate with us about custom athletic mouthguards.

One of the teen dental issues that impacts most young men and women is wisdom teeth. It’s best to start monitoring your teen’s wisdom teeth early so they can be treated before they lead to troubles with the jaw or surrounding teeth. And you certainly don’t want to send your high-school grad to an out-of-state college without addressing his or her third molars. If problems appear, your youth won’t be near their regular dentist, will probably miss class, and will either need to come home or use an out-of-network dentist or oral surgeon. If you don’t have a family dentist, Dr. Jeff Gray of Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry can examine your teen and evaluate X-rays to guide you on the best course of action for his or her wisdom teeth.

This article is by no means exhaustive on the vital subject of adolescent oral health. Future posts will discuss orthodontia, oral piercings, eating disorders, and abnormal teeth growth.

If you are looking for a family dentist in the La Mesa area, I invite you to schedule an appointment at Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry by calling 619-717-8560. We have been providing unmatched dental care to La Mesa families since 1986.  For more information about teen dental health or Invisalign, porcelain veneers, or teeth whitening, call today.

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry:

619-717-8560

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942


Healthy Habits To Keep You Smiling

tips for healthy teeth La Mesa

In today’s post, we will concentrate on vital behaviors that affect oral health. Of course, effective brushing and flossing are two critical habits for healthy teeth, but there are many more things we can do to preserve a healthy smile.

Diet Do’s

  • Do eat a nutritious diet with a variety of foods. This is necessary for overall physical health and a strong immune system.
  • Do enjoy calcium-rich dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt to neutralize acids that are detrimental to enamel.

Diet Don’ts

  • Don’t eat sugary foods. Sugar results in the production of dangerous cavity-causing acids that weaken enamel and lead to cavities.
  • Don’t snack throughout the day. This revs up plaque production and subjects the teeth to continual contact with acids.
  • Don’t chew on ice. (It really can break teeth.)
  • Don’t drink energy drinks. They have many substances that are detrimental to teeth.

Other Important Tips

  • Don’t use your teeth as tools. It is better to cut that knotted shoelace than to gnaw at it to try to untangle it.
  • Don’t get piercings in or around your mouth.
  • Don’t ignore tooth pain or sensitivity.
  • If you have children, communicate with Dr. Gray about water fluoridation. If your municipal water supply is not fluoridated, you may want to give your children fluoride supplements.
  • Don’t use a medium or hard bristle toothbrush. It can damage gums.
  • If you have an eating disorder – seek professional help immediately. Bulimia and anorexia are extremely damaging to teeth. (Not to mention the toll they take on the heart and other organs.)

We urge all of our patients to maintain a lifestyle that supports dental and physical health. At Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry, we serve the La Mesa area with exceptional dental care, including general and cosmetic dentistry. Ask us about Invisalign, porcelain veneers, teeth whitening and laser dentistry.

 

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry: 619-717-8560

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942

 


5 Critical Oral Cancer Facts

oral cancer dental checkup La Mesa

 

Dental Checkups Are Not Just About Cavities

At Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry we urge people to come in twice a year for a dental examination and cleaning.  If you steer clear of twice-yearly dental checkups because you don’t believe you have any cavities, perhaps getting an oral cancer screening is a more compelling reason to see your dentist regularly. We urge you to have a thorough dental checkup when you come in for an oral cancer screening.

Dr. Gray and his staff help broaden awareness of oral cancer and the significance of early diagnosis. Over the last few decades, lung and breast cancer have attracted a lot of public attention. There is relatively less awareness of oral cancer even though it claims almost 10,000 lives every year in the United States.

Courtesy of the CDC, Oral Cancer Foundation, and Johns Hopkins Medicine, here are 5 vital things to know about oral (mouth) and oropharyngeal (back of mouth and throat) cancers.

1. About 80% of individuals with oral cancer use some type of tobacco (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes).

2. 40% of individuals who receive late-stage diagnosis of oral cancer pass away within five years. The survival rate for early stage diagnosis is 90%.

3. In many cases, it is almost impossible for the individual to detect oral and oropharyngeal cancers because they can produce inconspicuous symptoms or no symptoms at all. Any abnormality in the mouth or throat, even if small and painless, should be checked out by a dentist or doctor.

4. HPV (the most common sexually transmitted disease in the US) is the most common cause of oropharyngeal cancer. Of the many strains of HPV, HPV16 is the one most frequently linked to oropharyngeal cancer.

5. Black males have a higher risk of dying from oral cancer than whites.

Sources:
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/oral_health/oral_cancer_and_tobacco_85,P00900/

HPV / Oral Cancer Facts


https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/conditions/index.html

To schedule a consultation with our expert, caring staff, call us at 619-717-8560  today.

 

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry: 619-717-8560

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942

 


6 Ways To Prepare For Your Dental Procedure

La Mesa dentistry

Perhaps dental sedation can be scary or the drilling of a cavity or even cosmetic dentistry. Let Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry offer 6 ways to prepare yourself mentally, emotionally and physically before your big dental day.

First, remember Dr. Jeff Gray is trained to provide the best care and comfort possible.

Second, take some time to relax and consider what you are anxious about. Take deep breaths in and slowly let them out as you weigh the reasons for and against taking these steps to a better you. Remember that many folks have been in your shoes and everything worked out fine. Especially all of our visitors who came in for sedation dentistry, our most popular service.

Third, know your medical history. You may be asked to fill out a medical history and medications form, so be sure you know what medications and supplements you are currently taking and review past hospitalizations and illnesses.

Fourth, have a dental plan. Come in for a thorough consultation. If we know all the dental work or cosmetic dentistry you want to get done, then we’ll know if combining any of it can save you time and money. We offer Invisalign, porcelain veneers, teeth whitening, laser dentistry, and dentures to name just a few.

Fifth, trust the outstanding staff at Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry to guide you through the before, during and after process. We’ve been doing this since 1986.

Sixth, our final and most important suggestion! Ask all the questions that you actually want answered before you have dental tools and gloved hands in your mouth!

 

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry:

619-717-8560

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942

 


Limit Sugar For Healthier La Mesa Kids

Family Dentist La Mesa

Every health-conscious La Mesa parent knows that sugar is the number one cause of cavities for California kids – and plenty of us adults also snack on too many sweet snacks and beverages.

Because of cavity risks, low nutritional value, and high calorie content, many La Mesa parents want to limit the sugar in their children’s diets. Obviously, there is a lot of sugar in bubble gum, lollipops, and gummy candy. But there is also sugar lurking in so-called ‘healthy’ snacks.

Here are some popular San Diego kid’s snacks with significant amounts of sugar:

yogurt covered raisins
fruit snacks including the roll-up and syrup-filled varieties
rice cakes
many brands of yogurt including the hand-held type
juice drinks
flavored milk
barbecue sauce
fruit smoothies
cereal bars

Controlling sugar intake in your La Mesa child’s diet is essential for lifelong oral health. When choosing lunchbox or after-school snacks at your Alpine market, San Diego convenience store or Jamul recreation center snack bar, read the labels. Sugar content varies among brands.

Sugar is only one diet component that impacts San Diego kids’ oral health. If your son’s or daughter’s diet is lacking key vitamins and minerals, the tissues in their mouth may have trouble fighting infection. These infections can lead to gum disease.

At Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry in La Mesa, we provide high-quality family, general and cosmetic dentistry to patients in the California communities of La Mesa, Alpine, and Jamul. The team at Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry pampers our youngest patients. If you have a toddler who has not visited a dentist, call us today to schedule a first-time dental check-up. Our number is 619-717-8560.

 

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry:

619-717-8560

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942

 


7 Surprising Causes Of Bad Breath

bad breath treatment San Diego

Men and women who have chronic bad breath understand the embarrassment and frustration associated with this condition. There are several possible causes, some that are often overlooked:

  1. Poor oral hygiene
  2. Digestive problems
  3. Systemic infection
  4. Bacteria on dentures
  5. Gum disease
  6. Food particles on tonsils
  7. Dry mouth

At Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry, we can help you with this unpleasant problem. If your bad breath is the result of poor oral hygiene, you’re in luck – this is one of the easiest types to treat. If you have visited our La Mesa dental blog before, you know step one: make sure you brush for a full three minutes and floss before you climb into bed.

People who have no idea how long they brush can set a timer (there is probably one on your smartphone). In addition to cleaning tooth surfaces, scrub your tongue! Then take the time to carefully floss around each tooth to remove the plaque between your teeth and keep your gums healthy.

Some extra-careful Jamul oral hygiene pros brush after each meal to prevent bacteria-causing food particles from sitting on their teeth during the day. In addition to freshening your breath, practicing proper oral hygiene will improve your health.

Schedule an examination and deep dental cleaning at Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry in La Mesa. Our dental hygienist will get all the plaque and calculus off your teeth. During your examination, Dr. Jeff Gray will determine whether you have a dental problem that is contributing to your breath.

Possible dental causes are: a cavity, a broken crown, or gum disease. If we suspect that your bad breath is caused by a non-dental problem, such as a respiratory infection, you will be referred to an appropriate medical professional.

Treating bad breath in La Mesa starts with a visit to Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry. In addition to general dental care, we provide a complete menu of cosmetic dental services including Invisalign, laser dentistry, and porcelain veneers. Call 619-717-8560 today!

 

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry:

619-717-8560

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942

 


Are Floss Picks As Good As Regular Dental Floss?

are floss picks as good as regular floss? Alpine

Floss picks vs regular floss? While it’s better to floss with a floss pick than to not floss at all, it’s important to note that floss picks can only clean a part of the tooth’s surface. Dr. Gray recommends traditional floss or dental tape. Here’s why:

A floss pick holds just a small segment of floss stretched in a straight line. Looking down, a tooth is shaped somewhat round or oval, with occasional irregularities. A straight length of floss just doesn’t make sense geometrically because it doesn’t conform to the contours of the tooth as well as traditional floss used correctly. By wrapping the floss completely around the circumference of a tooth, you can more efficiently clean that all-important area around and just below the gumline. And your fingers are much more nimble than a piece of plastic.

We have seen patients who are dutiful floss pick users who developed decay due to a a minuscule crack the floss pick missed day after day.

Here is a review on correct flossing:

  • Cut a strip of floss about 18 inches long and securely wind each end around your middle fingers.
  • Take hold of the floss with your forefinger and thumb leaving about two inches to work with.
  • Thread the floss between two teeth.
  • Hold the floss tightly against the side of the tooth and move it up and away from the gumline. You want to clean the space between the tooth and gum without pulling more gum tissue away, so it’s vital to scrape up and out of the pocket.
  • Move the floss around the tooth to clean every surface – especially those that your brush can’t reach. You can use a “shoeshine” method if you like. As you use a section of floss, unwind from one hand to access a clean piece. With 18 inches, you should have enough to grant a clean piece for each tooth. If you run out, that’s okay. Just toss the used piece and cut a new length.
  • Some people find it smoother to start on one end of the upper teeth and clean each gap one by one until they reach the end on the opposite side, and then repeat for the lower arch. Whatever method you settle upon, make sure you clean around every tooth, including the back surfaces of the rear molars.

If you have never flossed before, your gums might bleed the first few times. The bleeding may be due to gum inflammation, the beginnings of gum disease. Keep flossing gently and the bleeding commonly stops within a week or two.

Call us to schedule your exam and cleaning, or to book a consultation for cosmetic dentistry including veneers, teeth whitening and dental implants.

 

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry:

619-717-8560

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942

 


Stay Out Of The Dental Danger Zone

Stay Out Of The San Diego Dental Danger Zone

You would never consider running a red light on a busy La Mesa street or crossing over a lane of orange construction cones on the freeway, but you might be doing some everyday things that are a real danger to your oral health.

I’m Dr. Jeff Gray, a dentist serving the Jamul and Santee area, and I want to share with you some common habits that could be detrimental to the health of your teeth.

Crunching ice between your teeth might be refreshing on a clear day in La Mesa, but the soft tissue inside your teeth won’t appreciate it. Once this tissue gets irritated, you’re more likely to get toothaches and have increased sensitivity to hot or cold foods.

Participating in your favorite sport without proper mouth protection is a risk that no one in La Mesa should take. If there is a chance that a mouth injury could occur (and there is with most sports) then get to the nearest San Diego sporting goods store and purchase an inexpensive mouth guard or, better yet, ask me about a custom mouthguard.

Using your teeth to open anything is a bad idea. Every time your teeth come in contact with foreign objects there is potential for chipping and cracking.

Now that you know how to avoid these risks, what can you do if you’ve already damaged your teeth from these activities or similar ones? Make an appointment with our friendly and professional staff and we’ll see how we can help.

If you’ve had chipping or cracking problems, there are a variety of cosmetic dentistry procedures that might help you. If you have overly-sensitive teeth, I may be able to prescribe a prescription toothpaste to relieve the pain.

We can also answer any questions you have about veneers, gum contouring, or teeth whitening in La Mesa. We hope to hear from you soon, but in the meantime, keep those pearly whites safe and sound.

 

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry:

619-717-8560

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942