Oral cancer screening procedure explained

Typically, during the routine dental examination and check-up, the dentist also performs oral cancer screening. In case of finding any abnormal cells or to test suspicions, additional tests to screen for the presence of oral cancer can be done. 

The purpose of these examinations is to test whether a patient is suffering from oral cancer and providing relevant dental health care tips and treatment to the patient. When it is identified in the early stages, the treatment can be initiated and the results will likely to be favourable. The procedures for screening oral cancer are usually risk-free and do not pose any threat to the patient.

During the routine dental check-up, the oral health care specialist checks whether or not the patient has red or white patches inside the mouth, or if mouth sores are present. Not all mouth sores have the potential to be cancerous. Many people have non-cancerous sores. However, if unusual mouth sores are found, the dentist conduct further examinations. These tests include a biopsy – removing some of the cells from the oral cavity of the patient. These are then sent to the laboratory for detailed examination.

To verify and check the existence of oral cancer, the dentist can use the following techniques during the oral examination:

  • Applying blue dye inside the mouth before the examination. This would make the abnormal cells in the oral cavity more prominent and easily identifiable.
  • Use special light to see inside the mouth. This light would help in identifying the abnormal tissues or cells in the oral cavity by making them appear black.