What Should I Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening?

To shed light on oral cancer, in this post we explain what it is and what you can expect during an oral cancer screening.

What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is a type of cancer, which is an uncontrollable growth of cells that damages vital tissue. Oral cancer can occur in both your oral cavity (lips, inside of your cheek, gums, teeth, the floor of your mouth beneath your tongue, the front part of your tongue, and the roof of your mouth) and your oropharynx (back of your tongue, tonsils, and the area where the tongue attaches to the floor of your mouth). Your risk of developing oral cancer is increased if:

  • You are male
  • You are over 50 years old
  • You have a family history of cancer
  • You experience frequent and prolonged sun exposure
  • You consume alcohol excessively
  • You have the human papillomavirus, also known as HPV
  • You are a tobacco user (smoking or dipping)

Closeup of a pile of smoked cigarettes with nicotine, that increases your risk of oral cancer and lung cancer

What Should I Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening?

There are two types of exams done when screening for oral cancer at our dental office: visual and physical.

  1. Visual Exam
  2. First, we will look for abnormalities in your neck, lips, face, and even the inside of the nose and oral cavity. We are looking for asymmetries, bumps, swellings, ulcerations, or unusual patches of color. We will look in the back of your mouth and ask you to say “ahh” so areas in the throat such as the tonsils are made easier to see. Additionally, we’ll examine your gums, inside your cheeks, underneath your tongue, and on the roof of your mouth.

  3. Physical Exam
  4. Next, we will feel your head, cheeks, jaw, chin, and oral cavity to check for any masses or nodules. Applying slight pressure to these sites will help us determine if there is any pain or abnormal growth in these locations. Moreover, a special tool called a nasopharyngolaryngoscope, which is a fiber optic camera that is fed through the nose to the throat, allows us to look at your larynx and pharynx for signs of oral cancer.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

We recommend regularly checking yourself at home for the following abnormalities in your mouth, lips, or neck area:

  • Red or white patches
  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Tenderness
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • A sore that won’t go away
  • A lump, rough spot, crust, thickening, or small eroded area

You may also experience:

  • Ear pain
  • Difficulty speaking, swallowing, chewing, or moving your tongue and jaw
  • Shifting of your teeth so they do not fit together when your mouth is closed
  • A persistent sore throat

Schedule Your Appointment Today!

If you notice any of the above red flags, we are here to help. Contact us to schedule a checkup and oral cancer screening.

Contact Us

Leave a Reply

Patient Reviews

Karoline PammerKaroline Pammer
20:52 30 Mar 22
Dr. Nguyen and his staff are extremely competent, friendly and professional. He is very thorough and explains everything very clearly. Finally I feel like I am in good hands when it comes to dental care.
Matt SmithMatt Smith
21:18 05 Feb 22
Great overall experience getting a dental cleaning. Very friendly staff, beautifully designed office, and a comfortable experience watching calming Netflix nature programming while in the chair. Complimentary beverages are in the waiting room and so is a little play area for kids.It felt to me that this was a patient-focused family practice as opposed to a cold, corporate dental mill trying to churn through as many patients as possible.I’ll definitely be coming back here for all my dental needs and I highly recommend.
Sundup SherpaSundup Sherpa
22:07 02 Feb 22
Dr. Nguyen and his staff are very welcoming and they provide an excellent experience every time I visit. I’ve only been here twice for annual checkups but would definitely consider and recommend this place to anyone who appreciates good customer experience and a very thoughtful approach to making sure that you feel at home. I have some procedures set up for later in the month and I must actually be the only person in the world actually looking forward to a dentist appointment.
Jayrockem GottemJayrockem Gottem
21:27 09 Nov 21
Great place wonderful staff they will be my go too dentist 100%
shawaf alishawaf ali
22:08 26 Aug 21
Very confident after leaving the office that my teeth are in greatttt hands. Above and beyond patient care. Very informative visits. A sense that they genuinely care about patient concerns. Added helpful guidelines I took home with me to reach dental hygiene goals before my next visits. Highly recommended you leave your old scary dentist ! 😁😁
Queensboro Plaza Dental Care

Queensboro Plaza Dental Care