Oral cancer is a serious problem with over 45,000 new cases expected to be diagnosed each year. Early detection and treatment greatly improves prognosis. You should be seen by a qualified oral healthcare professional regularly for oral cancer screenings, especially if you have high risk behaviors, such as tobacco or alcohol use. If your dentist notices any tissue with unusual appearance, they will refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for a thorough exam and possibly a biopsy.
If you experience any changes in your oral symptoms – such as unexplained pain, numbness, swelling or an ulcer that does not heal, it is best to immediately seek care as these can be worrying symptoms.