Why is an oral cancer screening important?

We perform an oral cancer screening as part of your regular dental exam. If oral cancer is not detected and treated early, it can be life-threatening. By making regular dental visits and receiving routine screenings, you can help minimize your risk of developing oral cancer.

What are the signs of trouble?

The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Red or white spots or sores anywhere in your mouth
  • One or more sores that bleed easily or do not heal
  • A thickening, a lump, or a rough spot in your mouth
  • Tenderness, pain, or numbness anywhere in your mouth or on your lips
  • Difficulty in chewing, swallowing, speaking or even moving the jaw or tongue

If you notice any of these symptoms between your regular dental visits, please call us right away for an appointment.

How is the oral cancer screening performed?

The screening is simple and quick. We inspect your entire oral cavity (not just your teeth and gums) by visually examining your mouth, and feeling the tissue of your mouth and throat to detect any abnormalities. For any areas that concern us, we may perform a brush test, a simple test in which we collect cells from a suspicious lesion in the mouth to be sent to a laboratory for analysis. We may recommend a biopsy if the results of this test come back atypical or positive.

What can I do to prevent oral cancer?

In addition to keeping your regular checkup appointments with us, you can:

  • Avoid all tobacco products and only drink alcohol in moderation. If you smoke, now is the time to quit!
  • Always wear UV-A/B-blocking sun protective lotions on your skin as well as your lips, and try to limit your exposure to the sun.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.