You're likely to start by seeing your dentist or primary care professional. However, you may be referred to an oral surgeon or an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist for diagnosis and treatment.
What you can do
To get ready for your appointment, make a list of:
- Your symptoms, even if they seem unrelated to your condition
- Key medical and dental information, such as prior instances of symptoms and treatment, if any
- All medications, vitamins, herbal remedies and other supplements that you regularly take
- Questions to ask your doctor to make the most of your appointment time
Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my condition?
- Are there other possible causes for my condition?
- Do I need special tests?
- Is my condition likely temporary or long term (chronic)?
- What treatments are available? Which do you recommend?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
- Are there any restrictions I need to follow?
- Do you have any printed materials that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
- When did you first notice these changes?
- Do you have any pain or bleeding from the problem area?
- Are you a smoker?
- Do you use chewing tobacco?
- How much alcohol do you drink?
- Do you have any difficulty swallowing?
- Have you noticed any lumps or bumps in your neck?
- Do you have any pain?
- Have you developed any areas of numbness on your tongue or lip?
May 17, 2017
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- Lodi G, et al. Interventions for treating oral leukoplakia to prevent oral cancer (Review). Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews. http://ovidsp.tx.ovid.com/sp-3.24.1b/ovidweb.cgi?&S=OEPBFPAAJJDDEBDJNCHKEEOBALIJAA00&Link+Set=S.sh.19%7c4%7csl_50. Accessed April 10, 2017.
- Kayalvizhi EB, et al. Oral leukoplakia: A review and its update. Journal of Medicine, Radiology, Pathology and Surgery. 2016;2:18.
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- Detecting oral cancer: A guide for health care professionals. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/OralCancer/DetectingOralCancer.htm#. Accessed April 12, 2017.
- Salinas TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 18, 2017.