What to Expect, During Oral Cancer Screening

What to Expect, During Oral Cancer Screening

Dec 01, 2020

Oral cancer screening is a physical and visual exam of the oral cavity. It helps to detect mouth cancer at an early stage.

A dentist or doctor will request screening due to one’s lifestyle decisions. Some patients may also order it as a precaution measure.

You can visit a dentist near you to inquire about oral cancer screening.

The following factors can increase the chances of oral cancer:

  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Using any tobacco that includes cigars, pipes, cigarettes, snuff, and many more
  • A previous oral cancer diagnosis
  • Sun exposure. Excess sun exposure may lead to lip cancer.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)

You can get your oral cancer screening in Oakland, CA, at Franklin Dental Care. Give our dentist in 94612, CA, a call to have your appointment scheduled at a standard price.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer

  • Mouth sores
  • Pain that does not go away
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Weight loss
  • Bad breath
  • Red or white patches
  • Tenderness or numbness in the lips or mouth


During a dental exam, our dentist in Oakland, CA, will ask if you have unusual or new symptoms and any changes in your medical history.

Visual exam

A dentist examines your neck, face, lips, and inside your oral cavity and nose for visible signs like bumps, ulcerations, asymmetries, patches of color, and other abnormalities.

Before the screening begins, the patient takes out every removable dental appliance. It helps to expose every area.

Your dentist will use a mirror and a light to have a better view when looking inside the mouth and nose.

The doctor may use other tools when evaluating the gums, tonsils, inner cheeks, under the tongue, throat, and roof of the mouth.

Physical exam

During or after the visual exam, your dentist touches the cheeks, head, chin, oral cavity, and around the jaw to feel for irregular masses or nodules. Immobility in a mobile tissue is a sign of a potential issue. The patient may be asked if he or she experiences any discomfort when physical contact is established.

Oral cancer symptoms can be painful; however, painless swelling can be a sign of an issue elsewhere.

Sometimes after an oral screening, the dentist can request a patient to undergo further testing; it will help determine the cause of a particular symptom. Having additional test doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a cancer diagnosis.

During an oral screening exam, you can ask the dentist any questions about oral cancer. You can also ask for advice about how to reduce the risk of getting oral cancer.

Myths About Oral Cancer

Myth 1: It’s easy to spot the signs of oral cancer

Throat or mouth cancer can manifest in areas that are difficult to notice, like the base of your tongue, tonsils, and lymph nodes. Be on the lookout for symptoms that may indicate a problem, such as hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, and many more.

Myth 2: Young people cannot get oral cancer

Many patients with oral cancer are either 50 years or older; this is because this illness takes a long time to develop. Younger people are at a greater risk because there is an increase in the number of cases linked to oral cancer and HPV. Getting the HPV vaccine reduces HPV infections that increase the risk of mouth and throat cancer.

Myth 3: Only people who use tobacco or smoke can get oral cancer

Alcohol and tobacco users are at a greater risk of developing oral cancer. It is also possible for non-drinkers or non-smokers to be diagnosed. You can also develop oral cancer due to genetics.

Myth 4: Oral cancer lacks prevention methods

A few ways to prevent oral cancer include eating fresh fruits and vegetables, quitting smoking, and getting the HPV vaccine. Practice good oral hygienehabits.

Myth 5: Patients that are screened for cancer are at high risk of contracting it

Visiting a dentist often helps one to maintain good oral health. Screening for oral cancer helps to detect cancer at an early stage in which it is treatable.

Benefits of Oral Cancer Screening

  • It is easy. A dentist can perform it during your dental cleaning, and it is a non-invasive procedure.

It can save your life: if oral cancer is detected early, your chances of survival increase. Treating it at an early stage is much more comfortable.

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