Premalignant lesions and early cancers are usually asymptomatic (ie the patient has no pain and they don’t even know they have a lesion), so their detection is contingent upon a careful soft tissue examination by a dentist/doctor.

This examination must include the inside and outside of the lips, the cheeks (buccal mucosa), the sides and under surface of the tongue, the floor of mouth, the gums, the roof of the mouth (palate), the back of the mouth/top of the throat (oropharynx).

Most oral lesions are traumatic in nature and have no potential for cancer. However, some oral lesions have an appearance which may raise suspicion by the dentist.