5 Things to Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening

home Blog 5 Things to Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening

As they say, prevention is better than cure. An oral cancer screening can save your life pain free and is over within five minutes.

Your dentist can perform an oral cancer screening at a scheduled appointment. The screening aims to look for oral cancer signs and can even help detect early-stage oral cancer.

Usually, it is recommended to have an oral cancer screening if you are at a higher risk of oral cancer. Risk factors include previous oral cancer diagnosis, heavy alcohol use, and tobacco use. However, everyone should see a dentist regularly to stay on top of their oral health.

What can you expect from an oral cancer screening? Here are five things that will happen.

Pre-Examination Discussion

During you initial examination, particularly as a new patient to our practice, before the dentist checks for oral cancer, there will be a discussion. Your dentist will ask important questions that will relate to your oral health and general lifestyle.

They will also ask if you have noticed any oral cancer signs, such as sores in your mouth. You are also free to ask any questions and mention any details that you feel are important.

There is no preparation required for the screening. However, if you have dentures or other removable appliances, your dentist will likely request that you remove them.

Visual Examination

Your dentist will use a light and a mirror to look at the inside of your mouth. They will also hold your tongue down with a depressor to look at the back of your throat.

Keep in mind that signs of oral cancer could exist on your gums or other locations around your mouth. Your dentist will also look at your face, lips, jaw, and cheeks. Signs can include swelling, bumps, and discoloured patches.

Physical Examination

After the visual examination, your dentist will perform a physical exam. They will feel for any lumps or masses on your face, neck, jaw, and inside your mouth.

Early oral cancer signs can be painless and hard to identify. Even if you complete an oral self-examination, it’s still important to visit your dentist routinely. It’s also essential to see your dentist if you notice anything unusual: dentists are the professionals who inspect the mouth more than anyone else in the medical field, and visits to the dentist are on a regular schedule, making it very useful in the early detection of any signs or symptoms. 

Different Devices

During your oral cancer screening, the dentist might use a few different devices, such as an oral brush for testing.

Sometimes, the dentist will ask you to rinse your mouth with blue-dye before examinations. Unusual cells will absorb the dye and make signs of cancer easier to identify.


If your dentist notices any oral cancer signs as well as pre cancerous or any deviation from normal, a referral to an Oral Medicine Specialist would be the next step. This particular dental professional specialises in the detection, diagnosis and management of conditions within the mouth and surrounding areas may be pre-cancerous, oral cancer or conditions requiring special management.

It may be that the symptoms are not oral cancer, but catching it early offers more treatment options.

Attend an Oral Cancer Screening

While it can be scary to attend a check-up or oral cancer screening, it is worth it to maintain your oral health and more! If your doctor or dentist recommends a screening, then do it. If you have any concerns, ask for one.

Are you interested in learning more? Contact us today!