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5 Tips for Quitting Smokeless Tobacco from Your Dentist in Millersville, Maryland

March 3, 2016 in Oral Cancer Screening by mccarl_dental

Kick your smokeless tobacco habit with help from your dentist in MillersvilleWhen it comes to quitting a bad habit, the most important thing to do is get started! Tobacco use is a difficult habit to break. It is important for your oral and overall health to kick the habit. Keep reading or contact your dentist in Millersville if you are concerned about the consequences of smokeless tobacco use. Let the McCarl Dental Group team help teach you habits for optimal oral health.

Self Examinations for Oral Cancer – What You Need to Know

November 23, 2010 in Dentistry,Oral Cancer Screening by McCarl Dental Group

The American Cancer Society projects that more than 30,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. Oral cancer is 90% curable when found early. Unfortunately, 70% of oral cancers are diagnosed in the late stages, and 43% of those diagnosed will die within five years. The mortality rate associated with oral cancer has not improved significantly during the last 40 years. The death rate from oral cancer is higher than Hodgkin’s lymphoma, melanoma, cervical and testicular cancer. Visit your dentist immediately if you have type of unusual sore, ulceration, growth, lesion or lump in your mouth.

The dentists and hygienists at McCarl Dental Group are trained in oral cancer screening. We perform careful oral cancer screening during each dental exam and when indicated use ViziLite combined with the American Dental Association recommended visual and tactile examination to improve early detection. McCarl dentists work very closely with oral surgeons in Greenbelt, Annapolis, Laurel and Severna Park Maryland and to provide comprehensive dental care for our patients.

Oral cancer has touched the lives of many people including:
•    Babe Ruth
•    Sigmund Freud
•    Jack Klugman
•    Aaron Spelling
•    Humphrey Bogart
•    Lana Turner
•    Eddie Van Halen
•    Rod Stewart
•    Bill Blass
•    Burl Ives
•    Sammy Davis, Jr.
•    George Harrison

It is important to be aware of changes in your mouth. These pictures will help teach you how to do a self exam for oral cancer so that if you see something suspicious, you can contact your dentist immediately for follow-up. Look for color changes from pink to white or pink to red as well as any ulcerations that do not disappear in a week or two.

Oral Cancer Self Exam Page 1

Oral Cancer Self Exam Page 2

HPV in Oropharyngeal Cancer

October 14, 2010 in Dentistry,Oral Cancer Screening by McCarl Dental Group

This is an important update about the association between the Human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer and the link to other cancers, particularly oropharyngeal squamous-cell carcinoma. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, entitled “Human Papillomavirus and Survival of Patients with Oropharyngeal Cancer,” two specific strains of the HPV virus (HPV-16 and HPV-18) are linked to the majority of HPV – positive oropharyngeal cancer tumors. There is a growing body of evidence that HPV-positive oropharyngeal squamous-cell carcinoma has a better prognosis and survival rate than HPV-negative oropharyngeal squamous-cell carcinoma. In a randomized trial of patients with oropharyngeal squamous-cell carcinoma, the overall survival was substantially better among patients with HPV-positive cancer than among patients diagnosed with HPV – negative oropharyngeal cancer tumors. Specifically, the NEJM article states that using a sample of 720 patients, the 63.8% of patients with HPV-positive tumors had a 3 year survival rate of 82% versus patients with HPV – negative tumors whose 3 year survival rate was 57%. To read more, please visit the NEJM website and click the link for the July 2010 issue.

The dentists and dental hygienists  at the Greenbelt and Millersville Maryland dental offices of McCarl Dental Group attend continuing education courses regularly so that we can provide the highest quality dental care. We screen our dental patients for oral cancer as part of each routine dental visit and patient education is a high priority for us. If you ever have a dental concern, please contact our Greenbelt dental office at 301-474-4144 or our Millersville dental office at 410-987-8800.

ORAL CANCER – Are you Putting Yourself at Risk?

August 18, 2010 in Dentistry,Oral Cancer Screening by McCarl Dental Group

Sally McCarl Moore and Chris Phillips, dental hygienists at McCarl Dental Group attended a continuing education course to learn more about oral cancer and the latest advances in oral cancer screening. Here is a summary from Sally McCarl Moore about the changing trends and current statistics regarding oral cancer.

Every hour of every day, someone in the United States dies from oral cancer. The five year mortality rate has remained unchanged over the past 30 years at approximately 50 percent. Traditionally, the majority of oral cancers occurred in men over 40 who were heavy smokers and drinkers. This is no longer the case. There is an alarming increase in oropharyngeal (base of the tongue and pharynx) cancer cases seen in the 18-40 age group. This is due to certain types of the human papillomavirus (HPV #16 and #18). Twenty two percent of current oral cancers are related to HPV and the number is growing. Whereas the male to female ratio used to be 5:1 fifty years ago, it has now changed to 2:1. The mode of transmission for HPV is oral sexual activity. What may have once been thought of as a safe sex act is no longer the case.

There are two HPV vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, available to protect against the types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pediatricians and general practitioners recommend the HPV vaccine for all females ages 11 or 12 years old and males 9 through 26 years old. Previously it was only administered to females to prevent cervical cancer caused by HPV. They now realize that they will never stop the widely spread virus without inoculating the males as well. Gardasil is used for both females and males. Cervarix is used only in females. Both vaccines are administered as three shot series. As with any medical procedure, consult your physician to see if it is right for you  and your family.

Other than HPV, one of the major contributors to oral cancer has always been tobacco products. With the strict laws against smoking in public, you would think this was less of a problem. Not so. There is a new product called SNUS. This is a small pouch of tobacco placed in the vestibule of the mouth similar to snuff, but typically people swallow snus rather than spit it out. Several of the tobacco companies have their own brand with varying flavors. Some snus cans warn that “it can cause periodontal disease and tooth loss” while other flavors state “it can cause cancer.” This is horrifying to the dental field. Tobacco products placed directly on the mucus membrane have a higher level of tissue damage and potential oral cancer. There is no simple treatment for oral cancer. Patients have radical surgeries consisting of removing parts of their tongues, jaw and face. This is nothing to be taken lightly.

What are the signs and symptoms of oral cancer? The first sign of oral cancer is often a red or white patch or an ulceration that does not disappear in a week or two. Be aware of any changes in your mouth. Visit your dentist immediately if you have any type of sore, ulceration, lesion, lump or thickening of the tissue in your mouth, tongue, cheek or throat. Early detection of oral cancer improves success of treatment.

How do we detect oral cancer? The only definitive diagnosis is through a tissue biopsy, but your dentist and dental hygienist should be performing routine oral cancer screenings. Oral Cancer Screenings are included with every routine dental hygiene visit and dental exam at McCarl Dental Group. This is done by a visual examination of your tonsil area, the base of your tongue, the tissue around your tongue and lips and the roof of your mouth. We also check for lumps or bumps around your neck and ask if you’re having any trouble swallowing. If any ulcers are found, we will try to determine if they are due to trauma or something more severe. Normal, routine mouth sores will go away in 7 – 10 days, cancer will not. If you and your dentist think a sore or lesion is due to trauma, you should return in two weeks for a re-evaluation of the area. If the sore has not disappeared or if we have any concerns at all, we will refer you to an oral surgeon for a small tissue biopsy. As in all health matters, better safe than sorry.

There are several products on the market that a general dentist can use to try to determine if the area is cancerous or not. Again, these products can be helpful, but only a tissue biopsy is definitive. ViziLite Plus, Microlux DL, Orascoptic DK, and VELscope VX use florescence technology to identify areas of cell trauma. Oral CDX uses a small scraping from the site and is sent out for a lab to analyze. If the lab report indicates damaged cells, the patient will be sent for a biopsy. For additional information please visit

8601 Veterans Hwy, Suite 101, Millersville, MD 21108 USA
Dr. Clayton McCarl, Jr. Millersville, MD cosmetic, restorative, & preventive dentistry.
28 Ridge Road, Greenbelt, MD 20770 USA
Dr. Clayton McCarl, Jr. Greenbelt, MD cosmetic, restorative, & preventive dentistry. (301) 474-4144