Know the Signs of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is usually very treatable in its early stages, but many cases are diagnosed when they are more advanced because people don’t recognize the signs. When you get a dental checkup, your dentist will examine your mouth for signs of oral cancer, but between appointments, you should be mindful of potential symptoms that need to be evaluated. Consider making an appointment with your dentist if you notice any of these symptoms.

Mouth Sores That Won’t Heal

Almost everyone gets mouth sores from time to time, and in most cases, they are not serious. However, if a mouth sore won’t go away, you should have your dentist examine it. Call your dentist about any mouth sore that lasts for more than two weeks to see if it should be biopsied. The same is true of other lesions that develop in the mouth, including patches of thick skin, lumps, or swelling.

Mouth Pain

Pain is a common symptom of oral cancer. In some cases, pain will be limited to a specific location of the mouth. In other instances, you may experience an all-over sensation of discomfort and aching throughout your mouth. Your dentist should evaluate persistent tooth or jaw pain. A sore throat that won’t go away can also indicate oral cancer. Instead of throat pain, some people with oral cancer feel like something is caught in their throat that won’t go away or that interferes with swallowing.

Loose Teeth or Dentures

Oral cancer can cause gums to swell, which in turn can make teeth and dentures become loose. Gum disease can also cause this symptom, so it’s important to see your dentist to get an accurate diagnosis and the necessary treatment.


An oral cancer screening is an important part of your teeth cleaning and exam with John Carson, DDS. For a full range of preventative, cosmetic, and restorative dental care, including implants and root canals in Tucson, call our office at (520) 514-7203 to make an appointment.


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