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Contact us at Massanutten Dental Team and Oral Surgery today if you need a dental practice that offers oral cancer screenings in Harrisonburg, VA.

What are the symptoms of oral cancer?

Common symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • a lump, thickening, or sore that doesn’t heal
  • pain in the mouth that can’t be explained
  • ear pain
  • chronic sore throat
  • unexplained bleeding
  • red or white patches in the oral cavity, which may bleed
  • ulcers or sores that do not heal within two weeks
  • a lump on the gums
  • a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • difficulty swallowing, chewing, biting, or talking

Contact your oral surgeon immediately if you experience any of these cancer warning signs. Some sores may heal on their own within two weeks. Contact our dentist if you are experiencing anything abnormal.

Early oral cancer typically does not have any symptoms.

Physical examination and other tests of the oral cavity are necessary for cancer detection and diagnosis.

Who should receive regular oral cancer screenings?

People who have a greater risk of developing oral cancer should receive a screening. The factors that increase the risk of oral cancer include:

  • tobacco use such as chewing tobacco, cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and other products
  • history of significant sun exposure
  • heavy alcohol use
  • those previously diagnosed with oral cancer

Tobacco use is detrimental to your oral health and your overall health. Therefore, patients should avoid smoking at all costs.

People who engage in any oral cancer risk factors should receive regular screenings. Early detection is your best chance of a successful outcome if you require treatment.

What happens during a cancer screening?

During a dental care checkup, our dentist will examine the mouth to look for potential signs of cancer. They will look for abnormalities, including red or white patches and other mouth sores. The dentist will also feel your cheeks and throat to check for lumps. You should let our dentist know of any changes or concerns you may have that might put you at risk.

The dentist may use additional tests to detect oral cancer.

Additional Testing

  • Screening Dye: This special dye is rinsed in your mouth before an exam. The dye turns blue in areas where abnormal cells have been found.
  • Screening Light: This light can be used in an exam to detect abnormalities. The light makes healthy tissues appear dark and abnormal tissues white.


If the dentist discovers signs of abnormalities, we may recommend that you schedule a follow-up appointment to see if the areas have changed or have a biopsy procedure to take a small sample of the cells to be diagnosed at a laboratory.

How can visiting our dentist help?

Our dentists provide comprehensive dental care for all our patients. We will always check for any abnormalities during dental exams, including disease, tooth decay, and sores in the mouth. The goal is always to ensure you have a healthy smile. Our dentists are highly trained in looking for abnormalities and warnings signs of oral cancer. Though our dentists cannot diagnose oral cancer by an examination alone, we recommend a biopsy for areas of concern to form a proper diagnosis.

We also recommend noting any medical changes you may have during your exams so that we can provide the best care for you.

What is an oral cancer screening?

Oral cancer screenings are a method for detecting oral cancer by a dentist or doctor. During this screening, our dentist will conduct a visual, oral examination. Oral cancer includes cancers of the lips, tongue, mouth, cheeks, throat, and sinuses.

The oral cancer screening process involves inspecting the oral cavity for suspicious lumps or lesions. A visual, oral examination can be used to detect early oral cancers, which often have no symptoms. However, oral cancer can be life-threatening and is usually found in its later stages.

The goal of screening is to identify the signs of cancer early, so there is a greater chance for better treatment outcomes.

Schedule an appointment with Massanutten Dental Team and Oral Surgery today!

We welcome new patients to visit our dental team in Harrisonburg, VA. Your oral health is essential to us, and we provide a range of dental services to provide the best care for our patients of all ages under one roof. If you are looking for a new dentist in Harrisonburg, Virginia, with a comprehensive team of dental professionals, then schedule an appointment with us.