Greg Campbell DDS recommends an oral exam during your routine general dental visits to screen for oral cancer. During an oral exam, we examine the inside of your mouth to check for red or white patches and mouth sores and also examine the head and neck region for unusual pain or tenderness.
Please note that many people have abnormal sores in their mouths, with the great majority being noncancerous, so if a sore is found, it is not necessarily a reason to panic. An oral exam, which consists of a dentists looking closely at your mouth, can’t determine which sores are cancerous and which are not. If we find an unusual sore, you may decide to go through further testing to determine its cause. The only way to definitively determine whether or not you have oral cancer is to biopsy some of the abnormal cells.
Factors that can increase the risk of oral cancer include:
- Tobacco use of any kind (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, etc.)
- Heavy alcohol use
- Previous oral cancer diagnosis
At our Long Beach Dental practice, we believe in preventive dentistry. We recommend visiting your dentist every 3 to 6 months for a regular cleaning and oral examination so any unusual sores or discoloration can be screened, and if necessary, treated in the earliest stages.