A 5-minute Oral Cancer Screening at a Dentist’s Office Can Save Lives

You associate dental offices with screening your mouth for gum disease and cavities. But guess what? Your dentist will likely be the first to discover oral cancer in your mouth! During routine dental check-ups, dental practices like Gerald Middleton, DDS in Riverside, California, inspect your mouth to identify signs of oral cancer. Detecting mouth cancer early is the best way to stop it in its tracks, and that is what Drs. Gerald Middleton and Adria Cate do best in our office.

Oral cancer symptoms

One reason you should be screened for cancer regularly is that the symptoms of mouth cancer mimic other conditions and can easily be dismissed. Through an oral cancer exam, a dentist near you can detect abnormal cells despite what you may dismiss as insignificant symptoms. Although the symptoms below may be ordinary, talk to your doctor if they last a few weeks or keep recurring.

  • Mouth sores
  • Unexplained mouth bleeding
  • An abnormal lump in your neck or cheeks
  • Painful swallowing or chewing
  • Red or white patches in your mouth 
  • The feeling as if something is lodged in your throat
  • Loose teeth

Someone dies every hour in the US because of oral cancer. These are too many deaths, given that the disease is easily treatable when detected early. Schedule an appointment today for an oral exam — it could save a life!

What to expect during an oral cancer screening

A mouth cancer exam is non-invasive, fast, and painless. The procedure takes about five minutes, and it doesn’t require anesthesia. After learning your medical history, it’s time to inspect your mouth. We’ll ask you to remove dentures and other removable appliances to have an unobstructed view of the oral cavity. 

We’ll examine your tongue, cheeks, palate, lips, and gums for patches, sores, lumps, and other abnormal signs of mouth cancer. We’ll also palpitate your neck, face, and throat to locate unusual lumps, swellings, or nodes that could be cancerous or pre-cancerous.

Dentists spend hours inspecting mouths so they know what they are looking for, where to look, and how to look for it. We rely on physical and visual observations to detect cancer signs, but sometimes, we can use special dyes and lights to separate healthy cells from abnormal ones. 

Mouth cancer check-up near me

When was the last time you had an oral cancer exam? Has it been months or years since you had one? It doesn’t matter! Please call (951) 688-3442 to schedule an appointment with Gerald Middleton DDS. Our dental team will help put your oral health back on track.