When you go to your dentist and he/she dose an oral cancer screening exam, your dentist will look over the inside of your mouth to check for red or white patches or mouth sores. Using gloved hands, your dentist will also feels the tissues in your mouth to check for lumps or other abnormalities. If your dentist spot any lumps or other abnormalities they may use special tests in addition to the oral exam to screen for oral cancer. It is not clear if these tests offer any additional benefit over the oral exam. Special oral cancer screening tests may involve:
- Rinsing your mouth with a special blue dye before an exam. Abnormal cells in your mouth may take up the dye and appear blue.
- Shining a light in your mouth during an exam. The light makes healthy tissue appear dark and makes abnormal tissue appear white.