Saving Lives with a SNAP

How can a dental professional possibly remember exactly what a lesion looked like two weeks prior?  Is it a little bigger, a litter redder? Snapping a photo is so easy, and a great record-keeper.  I wish my dentists and oral surgeons had taken photos of my lesion! I remember what my ulcer looked like; When I see photos in dental journals of classic oral cancers…I see what I remember was on my tongue. When I speak, I always discuss the importance of taking photos of suspicious lesions. It’s so easy to take a photo, while being a helpful tool for recording and remembering a suspicious area. Along with taking a photo, the mnemonic for SNAP is a great way to remember four crucial items:

SNAP a photo! A picture is worth a thousand words in monitoring changes in your patient’s mouth!

S: Say, “I’m performing an oral cancer screening.” Educate all patients about dentistry’s deadliest disease.

N: Never say, “If it doesn’t get better, come back.” Schedule an appointment in two weeks to re-evaluate.

A: Assure to follow up on patients with a negative biopsy. Benign lesions may evolve into malignancies.

P: Pathologist: The histologic interpretation of neoplasia demands the specialty expertise of an oral pathologist.


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