Screening for oral cancer should be performed at least once per year at your dentist’ office. If your dentist notices any area inside the mouth or on the lip which looks suspicious, the area should be biopsied by the dentist or referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for evaluation and treatment.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons provide a variety of services to their patients including screening, diagnosis, and treatment of oral cancers. The diagnosis of oral cancer is made by performing a biopsy. Brush biopsies do not require any injections of local anesthesia or any “cutting” procedures. Incisional and excisional biopsies, “blade” biopsies, do require some surgery. These surgeries can be performed with a local anesthetic or under general anesthesia in the oral surgeon’s office. The tissue specimen is then sent to an oral pathologist for microscopic diagnosis.
If you notice any sores, ulcers, lumps, or masses in the mouth or surrounding areas that are present for more than two weeks, please contact your dentist or oral and maxillofacial surgeon.