Most people view dental check ups and cleanings as simply an opportunity to get their teeth polished and treated for cavities.  Your Mansfield dentists, Dr. Blair Jones and Dr. Seth Harris, offer another crucial and potentially life-saving element at each dental check up and cleaning: an oral cancer screening. Oral cancer refers to cancer of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and throat. If oral cancer is caught early, it is considerably more treatable. Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris would like to discuss the steps of their oral cancer screening as well as some of the ways patients can protect themselves from the disease.

Steps of an Oral Cancer Screening

Dr. Jones or Dr. Harris will begin by asking you if you are experiencing any issues or have any questions. If you have encountered any white sores or splotches in your mouth that won’t go away after 14 days, please inform our doctors. Or, if you have difficulty swallowing or chewing or have felt hoarse or numb in the mouth, mention these as well. Then, our doctors will delicately probe around the gums, lips, tongue, and entire oral cavity to check for sores, lumps, or other irregularities.

Benefits of Oral Cancer Screenings

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, 43,250 squamous cell carcinoma cases occur each year in the US, with around 8,000 deaths per year. Visits to the dentist are often the only opportunity for individuals to be screened for oral cancer. If oral cancer isn’t detected until later stages, it can be far more lethal. Each time you attend your dental check up and cleaning with your Mansfield dentists, our doctors will perform an oral cancer screening.

How to Protect Yourself

Some of the risk factors of oral cancer include a history of past head or neck malignancy. Also, being over age 40 is considered a risk factor as well. However, a significant risk factor for oral cancer is tobacco consumption and alcohol use. Historically, 75 percent of oral cancers are connected to alcohol use or smoking, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. Avoiding these harmful habits can decrease your chances of developing oral cancer.

About Our Doctors

Mansfield Dental Associates provides expert comprehensive dentistry to promote your long-term, overall health. To schedule an appointment, please call 817-473-6227. Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris serve patients from Mansfield, South Arlington, Kennedale, Southeast Ft. Worth, Alvarado, Midlothian and neighboring areas.