What You Can Expect With an Oral Cancer Screening

It has become extremely important to have regular health examinations to prevent or discover any early signs of cancer or other diseases, since modern medicine often provides many treatment options for cancers and other diseases when they are caught early. This stands true for dental health as well. Dentists find approximately 84 percent of oral cancer cases when doing screenings on patients and individuals who have either found an abnormal growth or those who might be at heightened risk due to factors such as age, family history, alcohol use, or tobacco use. It is important to ask your dentist if he or she feels you need an oral screening.

Oral Cancer Screening

Here is what you can expect when it comes to an oral cancer screening.

  1. There is no special preparation you need prior to an oral cancer screening, and screenings are typically performed during a regular dental visit.
  2. If you are wearing any sort of dentures or removable implants, your dental professional should remove those before the examination begins.
  3. Some dentists will ask you to rinse your mouth with a special blue dye prior to the examination. The dye will absorb into abnormal cells, making them more visible for the dentist.
  4. Your dentist should examine and inspect the inside and outside of your gums and cheeks throughout your entire mouth. Your lips and the floor and roof of your mouth will also be inspected for any patches or sores.
  5. Your lymph nodes, jaw area and around your ears will be checked.
  6. Expect your dentist to ask you to stick out your tongue and say “ahhh” in order to examine the back of your throat and mouth.


If your dental care provider does find anything that looks abnormal, he or she may recommend a couple of options. One is a “wait and see” approach with a simple follow-up visit to see if the irregular area is still there after a few weeks. If your dentist believes you might be at risk or that the abnormality is severe, he or she will often recommend a biopsy to remove a sample of cells to be tested for cancer.

Oral cancer screenings are very simple and practically stress-free for you; however they are extremely important for your overall health.

Roseman Students Provide Free Dental Care to Children from Boys & Girls Club

Doctor of Dental Medicine students at Roseman University organized an event to provide free dental care to 46 children from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake. It was part of Give Kids a Smile, a national event started by the American Dental Association that provides free dental care to hundreds of thousands of children at more than 1,500 events nationwide throughout the year.

Healthy lifestyles are a key component of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake, and Give Kids a Smile provides an opportunity for children to get free dental care. This is especially critical for children who do not have dental insurance, and may not be able to get this care otherwise.

“Untreated childhood dental decay affects about 16 million children in the U.S. every year, and is particularly prevalent in families that do not have insurance. Dental decay can contribute to a variety of issues including pain, missed school days, improper speech development, and difficulty sleeping and concentrating,” said Dr. Aaron Ferguson, Assistant Professor at Roseman University College of Dental Medicine and faculty advisor for the student group that organized Give Kids a Smile. “Fortunately it is also one of the most treatable conditions, and Roseman University dental students are excited to offer some basic dental care as well as education about caring for teeth that these children can use at home to improve their oral hygiene.”

Club members get at least 30 minutes of physical activity and healthy snacks at the local Boys & Girls Club, according to LeAnn Saldivar, CEO of Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake, but sometimes they don’t have access to quality health and dental care. To bridge that gap, Boys & Girls Club partners with organizations like Roseman University to get the care that children need to be healthy, regardless of whether or not they have insurance.

“It was so neat to see the smiles on the kids faces as they left our clinic,” said Cory Halterman, third-year dental student and one of the event organizers. “We all felt great after helping them.”