How Do Dentists Check for Oral Cancer?

man in the dentist's chair getting an oral cancer screening

Every year, about 53,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed. It can develop on or under the tongue, in the tissue that lines the mouth and gums, the lips, and the hard and soft palate. It makes up roughly three percent of diagnosed cancers in the United States. Although tobacco use and alcohol are common causes, many different factors can lead to oral cancer. Fortunately, your dentist can check for the early warning signs during your routine dental exams.

What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

Most commonly, it might appear as a sore that doesn’t heal. You might experience frequent pain, notice strange lumps, or develop a sore throat. It can lead to trouble moving the jaw, which might make chewing and swallowing difficult. You may even notice numbness in your tongue. However, keep in mind that a lack of pain doesn’t rule out oral cancer.

Regular examinations are still necessary. It’s always best to catch it as early as possible, so it can be treated before complications develop.

How Do Oral Cancer Screenings Work?

There are really no downsides to regular screenings. They’re quick and painless and can be completed during your dental checkup.

As part of the process, the dentist will feel the area under your jaw and the side of the neck to check for lumps that may have formed. They’ll also check the insides of your mouth to look for any other warning signs (namely sores or red/white patches). We perform a thorough inspection in order to give you the peace of mind that your mouth is healthy and that no dangerous health conditions are on the horizon.

In the event that anything is detected, it can be treated with surgery or radiation therapy, depending on the stage the oral cancer is in.

Oral Cancer Screenings at Three Creek Dentistry

At Three Creek Dentistry, serving Derwood, MD and nearby areas we can help to make sure you’re free of oral cancer. Call us today at 240-207-4077 to schedule an appointment!


Three Creek Dentistry