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Tests For Oral Cancer

Posted on 3/7/2022 by Dr. Johnson
 Tests For Oral CancerDid you use tobacco when you were younger? You may have smoked cigarettes, chewed tobacco, or vaped in the past. Whether you use tobacco now or in the past, you need to be tested for oral cancer. That's because one of the biggest risk factors for oral cancer is using tobacco. There are a few other risk factors for oral cancer, such as heavy alcohol use, HPV, age, and genetics. If you catch it early, oral cancer can be treated quickly. There are tests for oral cancer your dentist can perform to check your risk.


The first test that the dentist can perform for you happens for everyone during your twice-yearly dental exam. After the hygienist cleans and x-rays your teeth, a dentist will use a light to examine your teeth, tongue, gums, checks, and soft palate for signs of oral cancer. The dentist will look for red or white patches or bumps in your mouth, as well as any sores that have not healed. These may be signs of oral cancer.

Dyes and Lights

Dentists also use dyes that will highlight areas of your mouth that may contain cancerous tissue. Some dentists like to use a blue dye, which makes cancerous tissue appear dark blue. Also, dentists use fluorescent lights to examine your mouth, which would make the cancerous tissue appear white.


Many dentists have cameras with lights attached so they can examine the areas of your mouth fully. These cameras can reach farther inside your mouth than the dentist can reach with their hands and tools, so a lot more of your mouth is visible.

Exfoliative Cytology

If there are tissues that the dentist suspects may be cancerous, they can use a brush to scrape some of the cells off the area. A lab can then check the cells for cancer.

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