Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer screening check ups should be a routine part of a patient's dental maintenance. Regular check-ups, including an examination of the entire mouth, are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions.

The following are common symptoms of oral cancer or pre-cancerous cells:

  • A tiny white or red spot/sore anywhere in the mouth.
  • A sore that bleeds easily or refuses to heal.
  • A color change of the oral tissues.
  • A lump, thickening, rough spot, or crust.
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips.
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue.
  • A change in the way the teeth fit together.

During an oral cancer exam, your dentist will carefully examine the inside of your mouth and tongue and lips. The dentist will be looking for spots or sores that are flat, painless, white or red. Although most of these spots or sores are harmless, some aren't. Only a test will be able to determine this. Your dentist may choose to perform a brush test. The dentist will scrape a miniature brush across the suspicious sore or discolored area in the patient's mouth. The cells collected on the brush are sent to a lab for analysis. If suspicious cells are detected, a biopsy can then be performed.

People who are at greater risk for oral cancer include users of tobacco in any form, people who consume heavy amounts of alcohol combined with smoking, people over the age of 40, and those who have prolonged exposure to the sun (lip cancer). However, oral cancers can occur in people who do not smoke and have no other known risk factors.


Kevin B. Sands DDS
414 Camden Drive
Suite 940
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

P. (310) 273-0111
F. (310) 271-0584