The Early Signs of Oral Cancer
By Mark Makela D.D.S., PC
October 17, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Oral Cancer  

Lumps and bumps aren't the only signs of oral cancer. Our Petoskey, MI, dentist, Dr. Mark Makela, explains a few signs and symptoms you oral cancermay experience if you have the disease.


Pain can be caused by tooth decay, abscesses or other dental problems, or it may be a symptom of oral cancer. Pain may occur in your teeth, tongue, lips, cheeks, tonsils, throat or jaw.

Non-Healing Sores

Oral cancer can cause sores that never get better. If you have a sore that still hasn't healed after two weeks or longer, make an appointment with our Petoskey office.


Can you feel lumps in your mouth or neck? Although many lumps are harmless, it's important to have any lump or bump examined and biopsied, if necessary.

Strange Spots

Signs of early oral cancer are often subtle and may include red or white patches, thickened tissue or wart-like bumps. When you perform a self-examination of your mouth every week, you'll quickly notice any changes that may occur.

A sore throat or Hoarseness

A persistent sore throat may be more than just the lingering effects of a virus. In some cases, throat pain may be a sign of oral cancer. Hoarseness or changes to your voice can also occur if you have the disease.

Difficulty Swallowing

Has swallowing become much more difficult because it feels as if you have a lump in your throat? The problem can occur for a variety of reasons, including gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), anxiety, muscle disorders or esophageal spasms. It may also be caused by oral cancer.

Mealtime Difficulties

Eating can be challenging if oral cancer causes numbness in your tongue or mouth or makes it hard to move your mouth when you chew. Chewing and swallowing should be effortless activities. If eating suddenly becomes difficult, call our office to schedule an appointment.

Loose Teeth or Dentures

Oral cancer may loosen your teeth or change the fit of your dentures. Other possible causes of loose teeth or dentures include gum disease or changes to your jawbone due to tooth loss.

Oral cancer screenings are an important part of every dental checkup. If it's time to schedule your next appointment, call our Petoskey, MI, dentist, Dr. Makela, at (231) 347-2511.