Ever wonder why your dentist checks the base of your mouth and tongue during your dental visit? Your dentist does this routine to look for any signs of cancer in your mouth. They may use additional tests to help identify abnormal cells within the mouth.
In an oral cancer exam, your dentist performs two mouth screenings which include visual and physical exams.
Your dentist examines your mouth and will look for any swelling, spots or abscesses. They will also check your face, neck, jaw and cheeks. During the exam, the dentist uses a mirror and light to view the inside of your mouth. In addition, your dentist will ask you to stick your tongue out so they can see the areas of your throat.
Aside from the visual exam, your dentist will touch your face, mouth, and neck to check if there are masses or nodules present.
Even though symptoms of oral cancer can occasionally be painful, the early stages are usually painless. Your dentist must perform an oral examination regularly for this reason.
Upon discovering any signs of mouth cancer, the dentist may recommend: