A visit to your oral surgeon is recommended when you notice a change in the lining of your mouth. Normally this lining is smooth and pink, so if you develop red or white patches, a sore that fails to heal, or a strange lump or growth, it is best to have it examined. Other symptoms to have checked are a chronic sore throat or hoarseness, and any difficulty in chewing or swallowing.
Your oral surgeon will examine your mouth to determine if the symptoms indicate the beginning of a pathological process or a cancerous growth. If the area looks suspicious your surgeon may remove a sample of the tissue, and send it to a lab for analysis. This will usually be done using local anesthesia to numb the area, but for larger growths may require additional anesthesia. Once the numbness wears off you can resume your normal activities and diet, although your surgeon may recommend you avoid brushing near the site until it heals further.