Twenty years ago, if someone had told me that I would be finding ways to educate patients about the risks of early sexual behavior on their oral health, I would have said, "Not a chance". However, that is exactly what has happened. For most of us, the topic of Human Papilloma Virus and the sexual behaviors that put individuals at risk are not easy conversations to have to with our patients. And as dentists, it can be just as difficult preparing your dental team for these complex discussions.
In working with dental groups, it has become abundantly clear that this is a very challenging topic to include in our dental education. In the past, the lack of quality HPV educational materials for your patients as well as little guidance on dental protocol has made this a little talked about topic. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. As dental professionals, there are many things we can do to help fight HPV-related oral cancer. Of these, I believe we should focus on the following two in our clinical practice: The Oral Cancer Exam and HPV Education.
This in-office program was designed to address both of these important topics with your dental team. Included in this turn-key solution for HPV education in your practice:
• Morning program for the entire dental team focusing on the Human Papilloma Virus in dentistry. This program will include the risk factors, cancer statistics and methods of prevention, as well as improved diagnostics for early detection of HPV related oral cancer.
• During the afternoon session we will incorporate easy-to-use templates to create customized written and verbal protocol for your dental practice. Templates include: Dental HPV brochure, consent form for discussing HPV with minors, medical/dental history questionnaire that addresses signs and symptoms of early oropharyngeal cancer, and guidelines for discussing HPV in the dental practice.
• The team will complete their training by putting it all together with a workshop to incorporate verbal protocol by investigating different patient scenarios.
• The dental hygienists will continue with a cancer detection review (hands-on if venue permits).