Tag Archives: oral cancer

Receive Your Oral Cancer Screening During Exam


The Season of Life

Despite March being the month that officially bridges the gap between winter and spring, April and May are the months in which the spring truly arrives! Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes of the harsh dismal winter, green sprouts of life begin to appear, and as flowers begin to bloom, it’s certainly a beautiful time to be alive! Therefore, perhaps it’s only fitting that we at Overland Park Dentistry take the time to discuss a significant public health concern known as Oral Cancer. After all, in a time where we can observe life around us in all its alluring infancy, what better time is there to reflect upon our OWN life and health?

Learn More about Oral Health

Oral Cancer: Your Mouth’s Worst Nightmare! 

The pandemic has forced many of us to reconsider our personal health, as well as the health of our loved ones. Indeed, while COVID-19 may eventually be a thing of the past, with approximately 7,500 annual deaths in the U.S. alone, Oral Cancer continues to remain one of the most dangerous types of cancer in the world today!

Related Article: Mask Mouth and Oral Health: In the Shadow of Covid-19

Much like other inner oral health issues, the initial symptoms of oral cancer are relatively mild and sometimes easy to overlook. The earliest symptoms of oral cancer may include but are not limited to: mouth or lip sores that are slow to heal, mouth or ear pain, an unusual harshness to one’s voice, and increased pain or difficulty when swallowing. While these symptoms are not necessarily indicative of oral cancer, if you have been experiencing any such symptoms on a persistent basis of two weeks or longer, then we highly recommend you schedule an appointment with your doctor or dentist to receive a proper oral cancer screening, which we will discuss in detail below.

While it should probably come as little surprise that oral cancer is primarily caused by use of tobacco products, additional factors such as heavy alcohol intake, prolonged sun exposure to your lips, and certain types of sexually transmitted diseases can greatly increase your risk of developing oral cancer or hasten the advancement of a preexisting oral cancer diagnosis. However, due to its seemingly benign early symptoms, those suffering from oral cancer are often unaware of their illness and could remain so pending a formal diagnosis.

Unfortunately, if the disease continues to remain undetected and is allowed to progress to advanced stages, the resulting damage will likely be irreversible and might become potentially life threatening. Certainly, such a bleak prognosis is not the news that anyone wishes to get, but please remember… It doesn’t have to be that way!

Learn more about April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.

Dentistry’s Secret Weapon: Oral Cancer Screening During Exam

If you have ever heard the old adage, “The best defense is a good offence” then you can probably surmise how it applies here; the best way you can fight oral cancer is to prevent yourself from ever getting it in the first place! Indeed, there are several of ways you can go about preventing oral cancer, and while there are obvious lifestyle changes, (such as giving up tobacco use and practicing moderation when consuming alcohol) there is a less obvious but equally important prevention measure to take.

Routine Oral Cancer Screenings are without doubt a key component in stopping oral cancer dead in its tracks and preventing it from causing any further harm to both your oral and overall health. Now, if you are questioning as to what an oral cancer screening is and how to receive one, chances are you’ve had one before and just didn’t know it! As one most important and underappreciated procedures within the dental industry today, Oral Cancer Screenings are a quick and painless procedure that Dr. Kimes preforms as part your standard dental exam.

Related Article: Oral Health and Hygiene: Keep Your Immune System Strong

When you come in for your routine dental checkup, you are simultaneously receiving an accurate screening for any early signs or symptoms of oral cancer. While you might not be aware that you are receiving an oral cancer screening during exam, rest assured this is an imperative measure to take in identifying and treating oral cancer within its earliest stages and is often the best bet in fully overcoming the disease due to the cancer not having enough time to progress or spread.

Is COVID an Issue? NO Way!

While we cannot stress enough how important it is to receive your oral cancer screening during exam at Overland Park Dentistry, we also understand that there are some patients out there who might still be reluctant to make an appointment due to continued concerns over COVID-19.

Related Article: Dental Safety: Is it SAFE to Visit the Dentist?

Obviously if you have contacted COVID-19 or been in close contact with someone who has recently been diagnosed with the virus, then certainly you need to reschedule your appointment and quarantine. However, we can assure you that at Overland Park Dentistry we take the health, safety, and well-being of our patients and employees extremely seriously, you WILL be safe!

If you find yourself worrying over the possibility of developing oral cancer or are just in need of a routine dental exam, remember you don’t have live in fear of COVID or oral cancer!

So please contact our offices at Overland Park Dentistry and let us put your fears to rest and of course… keep you smiling!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

You Asked: What are the most common dental problems?

Your Teeth: A Thing Of Beauty!

Your teeth are truly an amazing part of your body, and as beautiful as those pearly whites of yours can be, they are extremely important as well. Being responsible for breaking down food for consumption, obviously your teeth play a vital role in daily life. However, with such an important purpose, the hazards your teeth face on a regular basis are countless.

Indeed, your teeth are very tough, the constant wear and tear they endure is bound to take its toll.  Additionally, if your teeth are improperly cared for or neglected, this could spell disaster for your teeth in a variety of different ways!

Common Dental Problems

Although some of the most common dental problems are not exactly terms that are unfamiliar, the resulting ramifications of such issues can have devastating effects on not just your oral health, but your general health as well.

Listed below are some of the most common dental problems and health issues affecting patients today.

Tooth Decay:

As one of the most widespread diseases in the United States (second only to the common cold) tooth decay is the condition in which excessive buildup of bacteria in the mouth breaks down the tooth’s enamel, thus causing the tooth to decay. Tooth decay can affect people of all ages, and although slow to progress, if left untreated tooth decay can cause permanent damage to your teeth and gums. Wanna know more about tooth decay, click here.

Periodontal Disease:

Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease is a progressive infection of the gum tissue, and much like tooth decay, can present a major problem if allowed to progress. If periodontal disease progresses to its later stages, it is likely to interact with and exacerbate other illnesses such as diabetes, or heart disease.

Foul Breath:

The condition known as halitosis or bad breath can certainly be the cause of social anxiety or embarrassment, however if this remains a persistent problem, there is likely an additional oral issue to blame. Chronic foul breath can be indicative of numerous issues such as cavities, dry mouth, gum disease, buildup on tongue, or even oral cancer.  Read more about how to stop bad breath.


Like foul breath, toothaches or tooth sensitivity can be a tell-tale sigh that there may be additional dental problems that perhaps have not been addressed. Tooth sensitivity may indicate undetected damage (such as cracks, chips or abscesses) or even the early symptoms of tooth decay. Regardless, if chronic toothaches are ignored, they are only likely to worsen over time.

Oral Cancer:

Oral cancer is an extremely aggressive type of cancer that is responsible for approximately 9,750 annual deaths in the U.S. alone, and remains a major health issue nationwide. While treatable in its early stages, if allowed to spread oral cancer may not be able to be stopped, thereby having potentially fatal consequences. Read more about oral cancer screenings and how they can save your life, here.

You may not know that these common dental problems can lead to additional health problems. Read more about additional consequences of poor oral health here.

Risk Factors And Prevention

The before mentioned issues obviously can pose some serious problems, however by recognizing the various triggers or risk factors of some of these common dental problems, you may allow yourself to take the necessary precautionary measures to prevent such issues before they occur.

  • Improper Daily Hygiene: While this may seem like a given, unfortunately it can be very easy to fall into poor oral hygiene habits, and while this many not seem like a big deal, obviously it dose put you at a higher risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other related complications.
  • Dietary Habits: It’s certainly okay to enjoy the occasional treat, however if sugary drinks and snacks are a part of your daily diet, then you might consider cutting back on the sweets. Excess sugar can cause a number of alarming concerns and oral problems are certainly no exception. If reeling in your sweet tooth is an issue, then it is essential that you practice proper oral hygiene.
  • Smoking/Tobacco Use: As you probably realize, excess tobacco use can be catastrophic on one’s oral health, and cigarette smoke is often the culprit of this. Tooth decay, gum disease, and of course oral cancer can all be caused by smoking, thus the likelihood of tobacco users developing any of these issues is exponentially higher than that of nonusers. If you are a regular tobacco user, we strongly encourage you to seek professional counseling and to consider quitting. There’s also a new trend on the rise, vaping. Read more about the dangers of vaping.
  • Infrequent Checkups: As a rule of thumb, most dentists agree that a dental appointment approximately every six months is the best course of action, effectively resulting in two appointments per year. Unfortunately, this rule is not always adhered to and while making at least one dental appointment per year might suffice in some cases, there are some people who won’t even do that. It’s important to remember that your dentist is trained to not only take care of your teeth, but also to recognize the signs of any additional health issues (both oral and otherwise). By not giving your dentist the time to give you a proper examination, you are preventing your dentist from detecting any health issues, thereby allowing the issues to progress and worsen. 

A Smile Is A Terrible Thing to Waste!

Your smile is something you should love and take care of. But if you take it for granted, your beautiful smile not only won’t stay beautiful, but could also end up making you very sick! While all these common dental problems can potentially become a severe health crisis, keep in mind that almost all of these conditions can be prevented or successfully treated by taking the time to see Dr. Kimes and his wonderful staff at Overland Park Dentistry. 

Remember a Smile is a terrible thing to waste, Don’t waste yours!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Oral Cancer Screenings are the dental industry’s best kept secret

In the time of year when the cold bitterness of winter slowly begins to taper off and warm rays of sunlight slowly begin to take its place, we witness the time known as Spring. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes of the harsh dismal winter, green sprouts of life begin to appear. As flowers begin to blossom, certainly it’s a beautiful time to be alive!

Perhaps it’s only fitting that in a time known for rebirth, and renewal, we take the time to reflect upon one of the most essential aspects of our lives; our health. While certainly it can be easy to take one’s health for granted; however, with the innumerable health hazards that one may encounter in life, it’s always in one’s best interest to maintain a keen level of awareness of any serious illnesses.

Oral Cancer: A Deceptive Foe

As one of the most notorious and feared diseases among people across the globe, cancer in all its forms is a serious and potentially fatal illness that has claimed the lives of countless people in the past and continues to do so to this day. As one of the most vicious types of cancer that one can encounter, approximately 7,500 annual deaths in the U.S. alone can be attributed to oral cancer.

Often manifesting within the mouth and neck region, oral cancer is primarily caused by tobacco use, but can be further aggravated by factors such viral infections or excessive alcohol intake. Some of the early signs/symptoms of oral cancer, may include a harshness or gravelly tone to one’s voice, or unusual swelling surrounding the mouth or throat. While such minor nuisances may not exactly seem to be a serious cause for alarm, they can in fact be more than they appear.

As mentioned previously, deception is a key factor in oral cancer’s modus operandi, thus an individual may be suffering from early stages of oral cancer without even knowing it! Unfortunately, if the disease continues to remain undetected (as it often does) and is allowed to advanced stages, it may already be too late.

Related Article: New Year’s Resolution: Stop Smoking

Oral Cancer Screenings: Dental’s Best Kept Secret

Since its inception, the dental industry has developed an array of different treatments to asses a patient’s oral health needs. While certan treatments such as fillings, whitenings, and more recently dental implants, have become well known among the general public essentially becoming synonymous with the dental profession. However, there’s a lesser known treatment that has slowly gained recognition as one of the most significant and life-saving procedures within the industry; oral cancer screenings!

Oral cancer screenings may in fact be the dental profession’s best kept secret, as most patients are unaware that they are receiving the screening even as it happens! Oral cancer screenings are a quick and painless procedure that Dr. Kimes preforms as part of your standard dental exam at Overland Park Dentistry. When you come in for your routine dental checkup, you are simultaneously receiving an accurate screening for any early signs or symptoms of oral cancer, which is something that can be a deciding factor. Identifying and treating oral cancer within its earliest stages is often the best bet in fully overcoming the disease, as the cancer is not given the time to cause damage and spread, therefore it is paramount that you let Dr. Kimes take the time to give you that crucial oral cancer screening during your next dental appointment!

Related Article: Oral Cancer Screening: Prevention Saves Lives

Oral Cancer: Join the Fight!

While much of the information provided above may not exactly present the bright and cheerful message that you may be accustomed to this time of year, please remember that the purpose of this article is to remind you that there’s still time to change this! Therefore, if you do have any concerns or anxiety over your chances of developing oral cancer, taking the time to schedule a routine dental checkup/oral cancer screening, is unquestionably the right decision.

Although far too many people have been dealt the cruel hand of oral cancer in the past, and have tragically had to face the consequences, YOU have the power to change this for yourself!

So Please – don’t become another statistic, let’s take a stand against oral cancer together!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his expert team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with any preventativerestorative or cosmetic needs you or your family may have. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

New Year’s Resolution: Stop Smoking


The Dawn of a New Day

2019 is here and it’s the start of a new year! Like many people, you’ve probably given the upcoming year a certain matter of thought, and perhaps you’ve asked yourself if there are any specific goals you have or any changes that you’d like to make. Certainly, New Year’s resolutions are a great way to set about accomplishing worthy goals for yourself and as a means of self-improvement.

Some of the more common resolutions involve weight loss, exercise, and financial improvement. However, for some people a very serious personal concern that is always brought up around this time of year is smoking, and their resolution to stop smoking. While the dangers of smoking have been well publicized and are certainly no secret among the general public, tobacco smoking remains a persistent issue that continues to plague people from all walks of life. If you’re a smoker, please consider putting “Stop Smoking” at the top of your New Year’s resolution list this year!


Smoking: Your Body’s Worst Nightmare

Simply put, tobacco products (particularly cigarettes) ruin your body. Although the damage takes a number of years to fully progress, smoking will slowly begin to attack your body in a variety of different ways, effectively decimating your overall health and ultimately resulting in death.

While this may sound a bit melodramatic, as of January 2018 The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reported that an estimated 480,000 deaths in the United States occur each year as a result of cigarette smoking. Therefore, this habit is causing more deaths annually than HIV, drug and alcohol use, and automotive accidents combined! As the culprit behind these staggering statistics, cigarettes are without question the most dangerous of tobacco products due to their highly addictive nature in addition to the numerous cancer-causing substances they contain. With users addicted to cigarettes, consistently exposing themselves to harmful substances, the occurrences of eventual health problems are inevitable.

Smoking and Your Oral Health

While many people are aware of the adverse effects smoking has on your respiratory and cardiovascular health, the effect it has on your oral health often remains overlooked. Unfortunately, this is often a costly mistake, as smoking can have a major impact on your teeth and gums and can even trigger some serious illnesses.

While certainly cigarette smoke can cause significant staining and discoloration of your teeth due to the vast quantities of nicotine and tar in each cigarette (usually giving your teeth a sickly yellowish hue) smoking also triggers and exacerbates a condition known as periodontal disease. Periodontal or gum disease is an infection that originates within the gum line and spreads throughout the mouth irreversibly damaging the gum tissue and teeth. In turn, the damage caused by periodontal disease may result in bone loss or even cause the infection to spread.

Related Article: Dental Health Awareness: Gum Disease and Heart Disease

In addition to gum disease, tobacco smoke can also trigger mouth cancer, which like any form of cancer, wreaks havoc on the afflicted area while always presenting the threat of metastasizing into other regions of the body.

Related Article: Oral Cancer Screening: Prevention Saves Lives

As a longtime practitioner in professional dentistry, Dr. Kimes echoed much of this when asked about the subject.

“A person’s mouth is not meant to be ingesting smoke, it damages the gums, the teeth, the tongue, the jawbone; everything! I’ve had a several patients over the years who wanted to quit but just weren’t able to, it was very sad to see” he said solemnly.

Indeed, the residual affects on the lives of those impacted by smoking is a very sad and very real consequence of smoking, and perhaps underlines the true importance to stop smoking more than anything.

Stop Smoking: Tips for Quitting

Finding the best way to stop smoking is always a tricky subject as there is no magic formula or fool-proof plan to ensure this happens. However, there are plenty of resources and different methods to assist you in the process of quitting!

  1. Make a Plan: If you are serious about wanting to stop smoking, it’s a wise idea to have a sort of game plan in mind to assist you and anticipate any difficulty that lay ahead. Quitting can be tricky so you might try asking someone else who has quit smoking for advice.
  2. Use Resources: Although there are those who attempt to quit cold turkey, (without any assistance) approximately only 7% are successful in doing so, often with much difficulty. Fortunately, there is no need for such difficulty today as numerous products exist that can be used as effective tools in curtailing your cravings. Known as nicotine replacement therapy, nicotine patches, gums, and other nicotine substitutes can play a major part in slowly diminishing the powerful dependence instilled by cigarette smoking.
  3. Ask Others for Help: Please don’t be afraid to ask for help, as support from friends and family often plays a vital role in the success of quitting. Additionally, it may also help to consult your physician, dentist, or psychologist as they may be able to help advise you during the process, and better your chances of success.
  4. Know Your Triggers: On the road to quitting this unhealthy habit, you will probably encounter certain situations or circumstances that will give you the urge to smoke, these are your triggers and it’s important to recognize them, so you are able to refrain from smoking if or when they appear. Perhaps one of the most common triggers among smokers is the fact that they are surrounded by other smokers. If this is the case and you have friends and family who smoke, you might want to limit your time with them or make a point to avoid them if they are smoking. This can be tricky but it’s certainly worth it.
  5. Stay Busy: By keeping yourself distracted and your mind off smoking, you might find things go smoother. Put smoking on the back burner for a while and take the time to do something different. Perhaps there is a project you need to get started on or something new that you’ve always wanted to try. Starting a project or new hobby are great ways to change things up and get your mind on other things.
  6. Don’t Give Up: Quitting smoking is a long and winding road and there is always a chance of relapsing and slipping back into old habits. While this may be discouraging, it’s imperative that you not give up; even if you do have a slip-up or two (or more). By remaining consistent and continuing to fight the urge, it will get easier, you will break the habit and eventually stop smoking.

The Road to a Better Tomorrow!

The road to a better tomorrow starts today and with a brand-new year in full swing, the time for a healthier life is now! If “Stop Smoking” is on your New Year’s resolution list, then much like 2018 its time to make that issue a thing of the past. We hope the information above was useful for you and our staff at Overland Park Dentistry wish you a happy and healthy new year!


Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS and his expert team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with any preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry options for you or your family may have. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at 913-341-2380.