Oral Cancer Examination

What is an Oral Cancer Examination?

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, an estimated 5,400 Canadians would have been diagnosed with oral cavity cancer and 1,500 Canadians would have died from it in 2020.

Oral cancer can take lives, and one way to protect yourself is by getting regular screenings.

During your routine dental checkups, your dentist also performs oral cancer screening. They check for potential signs of issues. It’s a simple precautionary procedure that can be completed in a few minutes.

Here at First City Dental in Saint John, NB, we’re pleased to offer oral cancer screening to clients. How often it needs to be done varies. We can find it out when you come in for your routine dental checkups.

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer is a type of cancer that starts at the mouth or oral cavity. It occurs when cells grow out of control and damage surrounding tissue. It’s characterized by sores that don’t go away.

These sores can appear in the lips, inside of the cheeks, gums, among many others. Early detection and treatment are crucial in managing this life-threatening condition.

What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

Here are common symptoms of oral cancer:

  • Lumps or bumps inside the mouth
  • Sores that won’t heal
  • Abnormal bleeding in the mouth
  • Presence of red and white patches
  • Sore or loose teeth
  • Difficulties when swallowing or chewing
  • Sudden weight loss

Let your dentist know if you notice any of these symptoms, so they can assess if it may be related to oral cancer or another condition that requires immediate treatment.

What to expect during oral cancer screenings?

Oral cancer screenings include a visual and physical exam.

During visual exams, your dentist looks at your entire mouth for any irregularities. They check if there are swellings, bumps, lesions, or patches. They also assess your face, neck, and even the inside of your nose.

They use a mirror, light, and a tool to help hold down your tongue. The experience is like having physical exams where you have to open your mouth for the doctor to see your throat more clearly.

Your dentist also touches your mouth, face, and neck to look for masses or lumps. In some instances, your dentist may also use special tools for your screening, such as an oral brush biopsy to safely remove cell samples for further testing.

They will explain to you in greater detail the steps involved during your oral cancer screening. They can also show you the tools they’ll be using to help you relax throughout your visit.

Aside from oral cancer screening at the dental office, it also helps to conduct self-screening at home. Be sure to wash your hands before inspecting your mouth and remove any oral appliance you have.

Look out for irregularities and should you find any, report them to your dentist immediately. Oral cancer may not be painful in its early stages, and this makes screenings even more important.

What happens if there are potential signs of cancer?

Should your dentist notice anything unusual, they may schedule you for a follow-up appointment to check if conditions change.

They may also recommend getting a biopsy for further examination. Note that an oral cancer screening isn’t enough to diagnose cancer, but it’s a helpful precautionary activity.

Further tests are needed to understand any symptoms. Suppose there is cancer, early diagnosis helps increase chances of treatment success. It can also reduce the need for aggressive treatment and help improve your overall life quality.

Learn more about oral cancer screening in Saint John, NB

An oral cancer screening is also an opportunity to talk to your dentist in Saint John, NB about your concerns or worries related to cancers of the mouth. To make the most of it, prepare questions and seek recommendations for lifestyle improvement.

Hearing the phrase oral cancer screening may make you uncomfortable, but as you understand more about it, chances are the more you’ll feel at ease too. Contact us today at (506) 634-2099 to schedule your visit.

Contact Information

Phone: (506) 634-2099


1 Market Square ,
Saint John, NB E2L 4Z6
(2nd Level)


Monday8:00am - 5:00pmTuesday8:00am - 5:00pmWednesday8:00am - 5:00pmThursday8:00am - 5:00pmFriday8:00am - 1:00pm

1 Market Square
Saint John, NB E2L 4Z6
(2nd Level)

Phone: (506) 634-2099
Email: [email protected]



Monday8:00am - 5:00pmTuesday8:00am - 5:00pmWednesday8:00am - 5:00pmThursday8:00am - 5:00pmFriday8:00am - 1:00pm


Because your first appointment is approximately 60 minutes, we ask that you print and complete the New Patient and Medical History forms and bring them with you to your appointment. Thank you for allowing us to help you achieve the smile of your dreams. We look forward to meeting you!

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