How does a dentist check for oral cancer?

Besides the normal visual and manual exam, certain technologies may help draw attention to areas that might have been missed.

Velscope is one example (and there are now plenty of others).
When our patients come in for an exam, we perform an oral cancer check as well. We check the tongue -- top, bottom, and lateral borders. We look at the palate hard and soft for any unusual lesions. Major salivary glands are palpated to make sure they don't have any masses in them. We will also check the lymph nodes under the angle of the jaw and down the neck bilaterally. Also, the entire inside of the cheeks and gum tissue should be examined. I feel that this screening is one of the most important exams I perform on a daily basis! 

Oral Cancer is on the rise and if caught early, is treatable. Often oral cancer is asymptomatic and if noticed later in the progression, is often fatal -- Make sure you see your dentist 2x a year, so that this important examination can be performed.
Checking for signs of oral cancer is part of a regular dental checkup. Your dentist can examine your oral tissues easily by looking at your lips and inside your mouth. He or she will check your gums carefully, the inside of your cheeks and your tongue (the sides and underneath). Also, the dentist will look at the roof and floor of your mouth.

Continue Learning about Oral Cancer

Oral Cancer

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can grow anywhere in the oral cavity, which includes our lips, tongue, gums and even the floor and roof of our mouths. There are several types of oral cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. I...

f detected early, oral cancer can be cured by surgically removing cancerous growths or tumors or using radiation therapy. Dentists are your first line of defense in early detection, since they are likely the first to spot a precancerous or cancerous lesion. Men are more likely to develop oral cancer, making it the sixth most common cancer among men. Smoking and drinking alcohol in excess can increase your risk. Learn more about preventing and treating oral cancer with expert advice from Sharecare.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.