Dental Emergencies

Oral Cancer Screenings

What is an oral cancer exam?

This is a dental exam that is performed to check for early, identifiable signs of mouth, lip, throat, tonsil or salivary gland cancer, such as:

  • Sores that bleed and don’t heal normally over time
  • Bumps inside the cheeks
  • Red or white patches inside the mouth, on the gums or tongue
  • Pain and/or loss of feeling anywhere inside the mouth
  • Problems swallowing, often accompanied by the feeling that something is caught in your throat and you can’t clear it
  • Voice change

Why are early detection and exams crucial to treating oral cancer?

Cancer of any form must be detected and treated early. Oral cancer, like all cancers, may require chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery or a combination of these treatments. It can also be fatal. Recognizing the early symptoms of oral cancer by doing routine visual and radiographic exams is therefore key to early, and more successful treatment.

What are the risk factors of oral cancer?

Oral cancer is more frequent in men than women and is most likely to develop in people who are over 40 years old. Smoking and drinking alcohol, especially in combination, are the most common risk factors for developing oral cancer. Oral HPV (warts) is rising as a leading cause of oral cancer as well.