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  • Dentists
  • Dental Hygienists
  • Dental Assisting
Hours: 5 Contact Hours
Author(s): Virginia J. Dodd, PhD, MPH, RDH
Peer Reviewer(s): John Basile, DDS, DMSc
Item#: L0731
Contents: 1 Course Book (70 pages)
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HPV and Oral Cancer: Exploring the Link

Reg. Price $49.95
Sale $44.95
Item # L0731
When available, the Online Course format is included with the hard copy, eBook, or audio book formats!

Release Date: May 16, 2016

Expiration Date: May 15, 2019


Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States; an estimated 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV and each year approximately 14 million people are newly infected. There is a growing body of research demonstrating the increasing incidence of HPV-related cancer in the oropharynx, which includes the tonsillar area and base of the tongue. As is the case with other cancers, early detection and timely treatment of HPV-related oral cancers can reduce the number of deaths from this disease.

Dental professionals are well positioned to play a role in the education, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of HPV-related oral cancer. Regular dental checkups that include a comprehensive head and neck examination can be beneficial in the early identification of precancerous and cancerous lesions. Dental patients may have questions about their risk of infection, their risk of developing cancer, and the protective value of available HPV vaccines. The established relationship between HPV and oral cancer will require dental providers to expand traditional patient education topics (i.e., tobacco and alcohol) to include information on HPV and develop communication skills appropriate for responding to patient inquiries and concerns as part of a comprehensive approach to preventive oral health care.

This intermediate-level course provides dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants with general information about HPV, evidence of the association between oral HPV and oral cancer, and effective ways to further communicate this information to patients. This course provides dental professionals with information that will enable them to effectively meet the challenges they face as the link between HPV and oral health continues to emerge.


AGD Subject Code: 750
Western Schools designates this activity for 5 continuing education credits.



Course Objectives

  • Describe the human papillomavirus (HPV), including its prevalence, risk factors, symptoms, and links to cancer.
  • Describe oral HPV, including its prevalence, risk factors, symptoms, modes of transmission, and detection.
  • Discuss the prevalence, manifestations, and diagnosis of HPV-related oral cancer.
  • Explain the economic impact of HPV.
  • Identify the key tools for preventing the transmission of HPV.
  • Describe the dentist’s role in discussing HPV with patients.


Virginia J. Dodd, PhD, MPH, RDH, received an associate of science degree in dental hygiene from St. Petersburg College in 1990 and an MPH in 1994 and PhD in 2000 in public health from the University of South Florida (USF). In 2001, Dr. Dodd became acting program director for the Florida Prevention Research
Center at USF and research assistant professor in the Department of Community and Family Health within the College of Public Health at USF. She subsequently joined the faculty at the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville, initially as assistant professor and subsequently as associate professor in the Department of Health Education and Behavior, before becoming an associate professor in the Department of Community Dentistry and Behavioral Science of the College of Dentistry at UF in 2011. Dr. Dodd has taught in the areas of human sexuality, health education theory, social marketing, and psychosocial issues across the lifespan. She has written and lectured extensively on HPV prevalence among female university students, oral cancer prevention knowledge and behaviors in community samples of adults, and oral cancer screening and patient education practices among dentists and dental hygienists, including their readiness to provide HPV information to patients.


John Basile, DDS, DMSc, received his DDS degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and completed a one-year dental residency at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, DC. After practicing dentistry for three years, he began his oral pathology training at Harvard University Dental School and research training in a papillomavirus laboratory at Harvard Medical School, becoming a Fellow of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and graduating with a degree in oral biology in 2002. Dr. Basile was a post-doctoral Research Fellow at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Maryland, before taking his current position as an assistant professor at the University of Maryland Dental School in the Department of Oncology and Diagnostic Sciences. He is also a member of the Molecular and Structural Biology branch of the Marlene and Stuart Greenebaum Cancer Center at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Basile has been a board-certified oral and maxillofacial pathologist since 2008.

  • Courses must be completed on or before the expiration date noted in the course description above.
  • You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion.
  • Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that the course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools’ policy not to accept commercial support.
  • All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.
  • There are no prerequisites for this course.