Cancer and Transplant Dental Care

Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center

Appointment New Patient Appointment or 214-645-8300

UT Southwestern Medical Center is a recognized leader in the diagnosis and treatment of oral cancer. Our dedication to providing expert and compassionate care makes an important difference in our patients’ treatment and changes their outlook on the future.    

Experts in Oral Cancer Detection

Because the mouth and jaw are made up of many types of tissue, they are more susceptible to abnormal growths than most other parts of the body. Fortunately, changes that might suggest oral cancer can be detected fairly easily.

The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin that is smooth and coral pink. Any variation in this appearance can indicate a problem, although most concerns don’t end up being oral cancer.

Pain does not always occur with these changes and often is not associated with oral cancer. However, people suffering from oral or facial pain without an obvious cause might be at risk for oral cancer.

UT Southwestern dentists and oral surgeons are experts in their fields and subspecialties. Our team members are extensively trained to assess and diagnose all types of dental and mouth conditions and, when needed, treat them with advanced, multidisciplinary care.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

It is important to perform a monthly oral cancer self-examination and see your doctor if you experience symptoms of oral cancer. Symptoms can include:

  • A lump, thickening, or rough spot
  • Reddish or whitish patches
  • Sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
  • Swollen lymph glands in the neck or head
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing

Symptoms might affect the lips, cheeks, palate, gum tissue, tongue, face, or neck.

Oral Cancer Treatments

Treatment for head and neck cancers such as oral cancer often involves surgery and might include chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Patients with head and neck cancer can also be treated by our ear, nose, and throat and cancer specialists.

UT Southwestern also offers reconstruction and speech therapy for patients who require it after their cancer treatment.

Dental Clearance for Transplant and Cancer Patients

The teeth and mouth can be affected by the immunosuppressing drugs that transplant patients must take. Our physicians can conduct the required examination that a prospective transplant patient must have before transplant surgery.

Patients with oral cancer often need dental clearance prior to radiation or chemotherapy treatments. Because these therapies can sometimes worsen an oral condition, decayed teeth should be evaluated prior to radiation treatment.