Screenings for oral cancer should take place at every regular dental visit and include visual checks of the inside of the mouth, the tongue and the lips and sometimes X-rays of the bone structure. If detected early, oral cancer may be treatable.
In the mouth, we look at the tissue around the teeth. We look at the palate, the soft palate. We look at the tongue, both the top, bottom, and sides, and also the cheeks and lips to see if there are any abnormalities forming. The basic signs of oral cancer are lesions that don’t heal for a prolonged period of time. They are discolored areas that are possibly raised from the ordinary tissue. Sometimes there is some pain, but not always. Often enough, the lesions are painless.
If a lesion is in its incipient stage, or beginning stage, many times we can excise that particular lesion and maybe a little bit of the surrounding areas and that will take care of your problem. If a lesion is allowed to go unattended and the borders break, you may get metastasis to other parts of your body. Then it becomes more complicated.
And that is why a person needs to come in and have an exam, so the areas of the mouth which you really don’t look at that often are able to be examined by a qualified physician or dentist.