SERVICES / Oral Cancer Exam


A routine part of an oral examination should be inspection not only of the teeth and gums but also of the soft tissues in and around the mouth. Dentists look for abnormal changes that are loosely called “lesions” on the following areas of the mouth :

• lips
• tongue
• teeth
• gums (gingiva)
• lining inside the lips and cheeks
• floor of the mouth
• roof of the mouth (palate)
• the area behind the wisdom teeth

Most oral cancers are located on the sides of the tongue, floor of the mouth and lips.

Oral cancer starts in the cells of the mouth. Normally these cells are quite resistant to damage, but repeated injury from smoking, alcohol or even friction may cause sores or painful areas where cancer can start.

You can find more information on oral cancer – what is it, how is it detected, how it can be prevented – as well as risk factors and symptoms, from the ODA (Ontario Dental Association) Oral Cancer Brochure .