Cotten Method of Screening Susan Cotten

In this VELscope Hero Vlog Spotlight, Susan Cotten, RDH shares her oral cancer journey with her favorite patient, the transformative trajectory, and her Cotten Method of Screening.

Everyday Hero – Susan Cotten, RDH

Approximately 54,000 Americans will be diagnosed this year alone with oral or oralpharyngeal cancer. That’s 147 every day and six every hour. And in five years only a little more than half of those diagnosed will survive this horrific disease.

  • And quite possibly that could be one of your patients or a loved one.

You can have an enormous effect on whether someone lives or dies. I’m Susan Cotten, I’m a registered dental hygienist and I run a company called oral cancer consulting.

And it’s my goal to see that every patient, every visit is screened thoroughly for early detection and prevention as a dental hygienist.

I understand the demands of your day.

You’re pressured for time and the demands of running a practice. And it’s easy to skip the oral cancer screening.

And at one time in my hygiene career, I was in those shoes too.

Looking back, I often wonder how often did I miss a lesion because I didn’t look or a symptom of oral cancer because I didn’t ask.

It changed my life and my clinical priorities, and I knew I could never cut short or eliminate this life saving procedure ever again.

It was my favorite patient who is was diagnosed with HPV Oralpharyngeal Cancer.

It changed my life and my clinical priorities, and I knew I could never cut short or eliminate this life saving procedure ever again.

And it sent me on a trajectory to help every dentist and hygienist in the world. So they would never have to feel like that or perhaps be brought into litigation because they didn’t know.

So in 2017, I created the Cotten Method of Screening. It’s an easy to learn and easy to implement method of screening and hygienists and dentists that implement the Cotton Method often share how confident, thorough, and efficient they are in screening.

And you can find a downloadable principle guide outlining the Cotten Method on my website,

Now your next best steps are to know the etiologies, the additional risk factors and the signs and symptoms associated with oral and oral pharyngeal cancer and to become confident in screening.

And when the time is right…

I would love to bring the cotton method training to your office or your DSO.

I believe that when you implement the Cotten Method and VELscope you will be providing an optimal screening for your patients.

And there is no better feeling than to know that you have played a part and saving a person’s life.


Oral Cancer Survivor, Lesion Found with VELscope.

In this VELscope Hero Vlog Spotlight, Dr. Julia Heinrich, shares her story of an oral cancer survivor patient, and how detecting early with VELscope saved his life.

Everyday Hero – Dr. Julia Heinrich

Hello, I’m Dr. Julia Heinrichs.

And my story begins in Washington, DC. When I was still Dr. Julia Skidmore.

I met Dan and his wife at the tour of the Capitol building. And we found out we’re both from Kansas city and they were looking for a new dental home. After a few years of being a patient, I found a lesion in Dan’s mouth that looked like a herpetic lesion.

So I waited about two weeks reappointed him. And when he came back, I noticed that it hadn’t changed much.

So I took out my VELscope and took a look at the lesion and saw an abnormality. So I referred him to the oral surgeon and the oral surgeon who is a friend of mine. We, he actually called me and said, are you sure we went over?

I see this, it looks like a herpetic lesion. I said, I know, I completely agree, but I took out my VELscope and it says something different. Can we go ahead and get a biopsy?

Sure enough, it was oral cancer.

It was aggressive, but caught early.

We had them go in for surgery and it was a very successful surgery. It was aggressive, but caught early. Dan to this day still attributes my, my attentiveness and technology to his being here.

So appreciative and so kind about it. Anyway, it’s something that’s just makes me feel great.

It’s one of my favorite stories about being a dentist and I wanted to share it with you.


Patient Letter – Oral Cancer Survivor

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The Tooth and Nothing But The Tooth

In this VELscope Vlog Hero Spotlight, Sonya Dunbar, the Geriatric Tooth-fairy tells us why regular oral cancer screenings & early detection is key for all ages!

Everyday Hero – Sonya Dunbar, the Geriatric Tooth-fairy

Hello. My name is Sonya Dunbar and I’m affectionately known as the Geriatric Tooth Fairy, and my purpose and mission in life is to save as many seniors as I can from becoming sick and dying from oral care.

I’m so excited that April was oral cancer awareness. Many seniors that live in the community long-term care facilities or assisted living facilities do not get regular oral cancer screening.

I’ve also noticed the increase of seniors who have dentures or no teeth, not even getting oral cancer screenings, or even going to the dentist.

Every one with the mouth needs to get an oral cancer screening.

I’m so excited to help my seniors to be able to provide the necessary or cancer screenings. When I go into long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, and even meet seniors and communities and help them get screened.

So let’s get out there and continue to do as many oral cancer screenings as possible.

Thank you from Sonya Dunbar, the Geriatric Tooth Fairy.

Follow Sonya on social media and pick up a copy of her NEW BOOK RELEASE: The Tooth and Nothing But the Tooth on

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