A comprehensive oral, head and neck examination is essential in detecting asymptomatic oral lesions and dysplasias and evaluating the possibilities of oral cavity cancer. It is essential to detect oral cancer as early possible, because treatment is more effective with higher success rates when instituted before the disease has spread (regional metastasis). In many instances, the clinical information obtained is invaluable in determining etiology and progression of the oral disease for which the patient is seeking treatment.
It also gives the clinician opportunity to educate the patient about the signs and symptoms of oral, head and neck cancer and how to detect it at an early stage. A guide is needed by dental practitioners in the performance of clinical screening examinations for prompt recognition of the disease and facilitation of referral to specialists when necessary.
Mariejecelle Dino-Lim, DMD
Fellow, International Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
Fellow, Philippine Academy for Head and Neck Surgery