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The Intraoral and Extraoral Exam

Nancy W. Burkhart, BSDH, M.Ed., EdD; Leslie DeLong, RDH, AS, BSHS, MHA

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As with the head and neck evaluation, this examination should be done using the same sequence every time.  Areas should be visually examined then palpated wherever possible.  Findings should be thoroughly investigated and the information should be noted in the patient’s record.  Oral cancer may have multiple appearances.  The first step in the intraoral examination is a quick general examination of the cheeks, hard palate, tongue and gingiva looking for any contraindications for continuing the evaluation.  If there are none, start the examination.

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