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Can X-Rays Show Oral Cancer?

Man looking his face in the mirror after shaving

If you’re concerned about a lump, lesion, or other sore in your mouth that you think may be oral cancer, you need to call (623) 215-1075 and make an appointment with our Dentist Surprise AZ right away.

There are a number of different tests we can do to determine if it is oral cancer.


In the case of oral cancer, no. Oral cancer affects the tissue of your mouth, including your lips, gums, cheeks, and the roof and floor of the mouth. X-Rays typically don’t show any growths on this part of the mouth and instead only reveal the bones underneath the tissue.


During your regular six-month checkups or any other visit, we will look over your mouth for any odd sores, lesions, or other lumps during an oral cancer screening.

In most cases, you’ve already noticed something odd and point it out. In other cases, if the lesions or lumps are pretty small, we might only see them by using our specialized equipment.

Either way, if the spot appears to be a concern, we will actually take a small about of the tissue via a biopsy. That sample is sent to the lab to determine if oral cancer is present.

That doesn’t mean X-Rays are useless in this case. While they may not necessarily show oral cancer, they can be used to determine if that cancer has spread. That can be the case if it’s not detected early.

An orthopantomogram, a type of X-Ray that looks at the upper and lower jaw bone, is often done to see if cancer has developed around the bone.


Remember that the best way of treating oral cancer is by detecting it early. That’s one of the reasons why your six-month checkups are so important. If you don’t have one of these appointments scheduled, call today to set one up.

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