The Oral Cavity

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All patients should be asked the following:

''When did you last see a dentist?'' ''What did the dentist do?''

Figure 12-9 Laryngeal skeleton.

''Have you any pain, sores, or masses on your lips or in your mouth that do not heal?'' ''Have you had any problems after extraction of a tooth?''

(If the patient wears dentures) ' 'Have you noticed any change in the way your dentures fit?'

Cancers of the oral cavity are most often found in people who are older than 45 years of age. Cancer of the lip is more common in men than in women and is more likely to develop in people with light-colored skin who have spent extensive time in the sun. Cancer of the oral cavity is more common in people who chew tobacco or smoke pipes. A possible sign of a cancer of the mouth or gums is when dentures no longer fit well.

The most important symptoms of disease of the oral cavity are as follows:

Pain

Ulceration Bleeding • Mass

Halitosis (bad breath) Xerostomia (dry mouth)

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