At West Hills Smiles in West Hills, CA near Woodland Hills, CA, we perform a thorough oral, head and neck examination at every appointment to determine if the signs of cancer or precancerous conditions are present in your mouth. The goal of an oral cancer examination is to identify oral cancer at an early stage, when there is a greater chance for a cure.
It’s a misconception that oral cancer is only present in those persons who smoke, drink, or chew tobacco. While these are risk factors for the development of oral cancer, it can occur in any individual. Those with a family history of cancer, who have had excessive sun exposure (especially at an early age), or carrying the human papillomavirus (HPV) are also at risk for oral cancer.
Oral Cancer Examination at West Hills Smiles
During an oral cancer screening, your Woodland Hills, CA dentist will first examine the inside of your mouth to check for mouth sores or red or white patches. Then, your dentist will feel for lumps or other abnormalities in the tissues in your mouth. If you wear removable dentures, either partial or complete, you’ll need to remove them for the oral cancer examination so that the tissues underneath can be checked.
An additional test that can be part of the oral cancer screening requires you to rinse your mouth with a special liquid. A special light is then shone into your mouth to look for abnormalities. Any problem areas will show up much darker than healthy ones. If any problems are suspected, your Woodland Hills dentist may recommend a follow-up visit or biopsy to determine whether or not oral cancer is present.