Do you need oral cancer screening?

At Northridge.Dental, we make oral cancer screening available to all of our Northridge & Woodland Hills patients. With that said, certain groups of individuals may be at an increased risk for oral cancer, and should absolutely take advantage of these routine screenings. These groups include people who:

  • Use tobacco, including cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco and more.
  • Drink alcohol heavily.
  • Have been diagnosed with oral cancer in the past.
  • Have a history of sun exposure.

If you’re wondering if you need oral cancer screening, please don’t hesitate to speak to a member of our team about your concerns, and we will help you determine if you are in a high-risk category. In addition, we can help you identify ways to reduce your overall risk, for example by quitting tobacco products and avoiding alcohol.

What to expect during your oral cancer screening

Your oral cancer screening will be performed during your routine dental check-ups at Northridge.Dental. Our goal throughout this process is to diagnose mouth cancer early, when we have the greatest chance of curing it.

To begin, we will visually assess your mouth for signs of cancer. During this portion of the exam, we’re looking for mouth sores, red and white patches, and lumps that may be caused by the disease. If you wear dentures, we will ask you to remove them so we can evaluate the underlying tissue for signs of oral cancer.

Depending on our findings and your unique risk factors, we may perform additional oral cancer screening tests. In this case, we may rinse your mouth with a blue dye, which will cause abnormal cells to appear blue. We may also place a specialized light over your mouth, which will cause potentially diseased and abnormal tissue to appear white.

If we discover signs of oral cancer, we may recommend a follow-up visit to reassess the abnormal area and evaluate it for changes. In other cases, we may advise that it’s in your best interest to have a biopsy performed. This will involve sending a sample of your cells to a lab to determine if any cancer is present.