Oral Cancer Screening

Every year, more than 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer. Many of those cases are actually first discovered by a dentist.

As they perform your regular exam and maintenance visit, they’re also checking for any abnormalities in and around your mouth as part of the oral cancer screening. If you notice something unusual, schedule an appointment at Red Bank Smiles in Red Bank, NJ, and Dr. Benjamin Klayman will be happy to perform an exam.

Healthy smiles start with good dental hygiene, which includes at-home care and regular visits to the dentist. Discover the symptoms of gingivitis, as well as how to prevent and treat it, with this overview from Red Bank Smiles.

Types of Oral Cancer

There are two main types of oral cancer: oral cavity (mouth) and oropharynx (middle region of the throat). It can develop in or on any of the following areas:

  • Lips
  • Cheeks
  • Teeth
  • Gums
  • Tongue
  • Floor of the mouth
  • Roof of the mouth
  • Tonsils
  • Middle region of the throat

While anyone can develop oral cancer, it is most common in men and those over the age of 55. It’s frequently caused by tobacco use (smoking or chewing), alcohol and betel quid (“paan”). About seven out of 10 people with oral cancer are heavy drinkers. Another leading cause of oral cancer, especially in younger people and nonsmokers, is the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV is now associated with 9,000 head and neck cancers diagnosed each year in the United States. If caught during its early stages, the 5-year survival rate is 84%. If caught later, the survival rate drops to 39%.


Always talk to your dentist anytime you notice something unusual about your mouth, especially if it lasts longer than two weeks. Some symptoms of oral cancer might include:

  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the tongue or jaw
  • Sores or irritation
  • Red or white patches
  • Lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
  • Change in the way your teeth fit together
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Feeling like something is caught in your throat
  • Changes to your voice

During an oral cancer screening, these are the warning signs your dentist will look for. Know that many of these symptoms can also be the result of a different condition. Dr. Klayman, who has many years’ experience with oral cancer exams, can help figure out what might be going on and get you the treatment you deserve.

Schedule an Oral Cancer Screening

Early detection is extremely important for oral cancer. The sooner it’s caught, the sooner you can start treatment. If you’re concerned about any of the symptoms above, make an appointment with the friendly and compassionate team at Red Bank Smiles today. Just call us at 732-741-1052 or book online.