ADAA View Course

Oral Precancer and the HPV Connection (AGD 730)

Presenter: Patti DiGangi, RDH, BS


Approximately 49,750 people in the US will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2017. For more than a decade there has been an increase in the rate of occurrence of oral and oropharyngeal cancers. Though thought by some as a rare occurrence, every single day in the United States alone, 132 new individuals are diagnosed and one person dies from oral cancer every hour of every day. Rates of past occurrence do not have to predict the future.1

The wonderful part of predictions are that they can be wrong. The dental healthcare team can make plans to circumvent that future death rate, not be being reactive, rather by more proactively identifying risks for oral precancer.


Patti DiGangi, RDH, BS graduated from William Rainey Harper Dental Hygiene and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Care Leadership from National Louis University. She continues to take an active future-oriented leadership role in a variety of professional organizations. She is the Dental Corporate Chair for the Oral Cancer Foundation Walk for Awareness of Northern Illinois and has been speaking and writing on the early detection and prevention of oral cancer for many years.

Patti believes dentistry is no longer about fixing teeth; dentistry is indeed oral medicine. Her diligent work helps dental professionals, embrace the opportunities and understand the metrics that accurate insurance coding provides. In fact, the American Dental Association recognized her expertise by inviting her to write a chapter in its CDT 2017 and 2018 Companion books. Patti holds publishing and speaking licenses with the ADA for Current Dental Terminology, 2017 as well as SNODENT, 2017 diagnostic coding. She is the author of DentalCodeology, which is a series of easy-to-read, bite sized books.


Upon completion of this course, the dental professional should be able to:

• Define early intervention, precancer and 3 levels of prevention.
• Know patient perceptions of current oral cancer screening protocols.
• Discuss with patients the HPV connection to oral cancer.
• Identify life-style risk factors for oral cancer including HPV, age, alcohol, tobacco, nutrition, periodontitis and cannabis.
• Relate basic information of HPV vaccine controversies.


The ADAA has an obligation to disseminate knowledge in the field of dentistry.  Sponsorship of a continuing education program by the ADAA does not necessarily imply endorsement of a particular philosophy, product or technique.

The ADAA cautions participants taking this course on the hazards of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into their practices.

Credits earned upon completion of the course may be used to meet DANB’s Recertification Requirements.


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