Hello, I wonder if anybody can give me some advice. I am very confused about an issue of diagnosis. My Father has recently been diagnosed with mouth cancer and is awaiting an appointment to see his Specialist after undergoing MRI Scan. The appointment will then discuss surgery plan and treatment. I am just very upset about his journey in regards to his diagnosis. My Father, who is 78 had been complaining of sores in his mouth back about approximately 10 months ago. We had recently moved house and I made an appointment at a local dentist near our new house. He had an appointment and underwent a tooth extraction, for which he suffered a very bad bleed. He thought the issue was to do with ill fitting dentures and the tooth was taken out leaving him with one tooth. Still suffering and then believing that the remaining tooth was causing sores and ulcers he went back to the dentist in April, the tooth was filled, still having problems I contacted the dentist and an emergency appointment was undertaken to work more on the tooth. My father believing that the rough edges were causing him problems. As he was still in a lot of discomfort I took him to our local GP walk in centre over a bank holiday weekend (approx 1.5 weeks after seeing dentist) thinking maybe he needed antibiotics to clear up the sores, the Dr took one look and advised we needed to see a specialist with a two week referral. At this appointment the Dr showed me the issue while examining him and I was absolutely floored - his poor mouth looked terrible. She advised that she did not think the issue was to do with his tooth and arranged for a biopsy,which confirmed cancer. I am just very confused as all the time my father had this problem he believed it was the tooth causing a problem, and see two different dentists over a period of months with 5 different appointments, should this not have been picked up? Or would a Dr be the only person to see a problem. I am very angry as it was a really visual problem. Any advice I would really appreciate as I do feel very angry with the way my Father has been treated by this dental practice. Thank you
Original Post
Hello Janaz

The issue should have been picked up by the dentist if the ulcer had still not healed at a review appointment (after 2-3 weeks) following adjustment of the ill fitting dentures or asking them to be left out of the mouth or adjusting the rough edge of the tooth (or extracting it) as these confounding factors could also be responsible for the ulcer/soreness. The dentist should have advised your father to return for review in 2-3 weeks or earlier if getting worse. This is the standard protocol for managing new ulcer/soreness complaints. Some cancer ulcers progress very slowly and and others are more aggressive. Sometimes things get missed if a different dentist gets seen or notes are unavailable or patients miss a review appointment (for whatever reason). Only a discussion with the practice dentist will allow one to know if anything was missed. Hope that helps your understanding of the situation.

Best wishes
Vinod

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