Current trends in the practice of medicine have led to less physical contact from doctors with patients. If you’ve been to your physician lately, you likely know to what I’m referring. Fortunately, Dentistry still requires contact. Arguably, one of the most important contacts is during the oral cancer screening portion of any examination. After dental school, I did a brief residency at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. After that residency, I have without exception done an oral cancer screening on every patient young or old. Oral cancer incidence is on the rise. Whether that is due to better diagnostics or truly increasing disease frequency is debatable. What is not debatable is that the earlier the diagnosis, the better the possible result.
So please indulge my holding your tongue with gauze and palpating the side of the tongue and floor of the mouth, and allow me to thoroughly check your throat when I state “say ah”. It may save your life.