At Estes Park Dental, we work as a team to provide patients with complete satisfaction – in service and clinical care. Dr. Rauk and all of us at Estes Park Dental have developed the kind of environment to help you feel cared for and comfortable. Our entire team is committed to treating you with compassion, empathy, and excellent care. Before your initial appointment, please download and complete registration forms.
Oral cancer kills more people nationwide than either cervical or skin (melanoma) cancer, and only half of patients diagnosed will survive more than five years. One American dies every hour from oral cancer. The most common risk factors are tobacco use, frequent high quantity alcohol consumption, constant sunlight exposure, habitual cheek or lip biting, or poorly fitting dentures. Although most oral cancers are found in people who use tobacco and/or drink alcohol excessively, 25 percent of oral cancers occur in people who have no risk factors at all.
Your dentist could very well be your number one soldier in the fight against oral cancer. Studies show that for many patients, dentists detect a problem area even before the patient notices. During a regular dental checkup, your dentist will examine your entire mouth, searching for a flat, painless, white or red spot or small sore. Other signs of oral cancer can include:
- A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal.
- A color change of the oral tissues.
- A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust, or small, eroded area.
- Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips.
In our office, we also use a device called the Velscope to examine the oral tissues of our patients. Abnormal tissue that can be cancerous of precancerous appears differently than healthy tissue through the Velscope.
Two additional tests can determine if a trouble spot is cancerous. A brush biopsy is a painless test performed on areas that look harmless or do not have a clear cause. This test can detect potentially dangerous cells in the early stages of the disease. A scalpel or laser biopsy with local anesthesia is usually performed on suspicious areas.
Remember to schedule regular checkups for everyone in your family. Two visits per year are recommended for general care. If, between visits, you notice any unusual changes in your mouth, call your dentist immediately. Together you and your dentist can fight and win the battle against oral cancer. For more information about oral cancer, support groups, or treatments, visit www.oralcancerfoundation.org.
Located in the Aspenwood Professional Building at 600 S. St. Vrain in Estes Park, Dr. Rauk’s dental office serves patients from surrounding areas, including Pinewood, Glen Haven, and Allenspark. Give us a call today to schedule your initial visit.