Interviews Available:    Mouth Cancer Foundation Consultant – Elizabeth Laverack

                                      Identity Individual Dental Care Dentist and Practice Owner– James


To set up an interview and for more information please call Media Ambitions on + 44 (0) 208 940 2222 or email

Today, a leading preventative dental practice in Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees is announced as the Mouth Cancer Foundation’s ‘Practice of the Month’ for October.  The team has proven they go above and beyond to implement the charity’s Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme* so was chosen from all dental practices across the UK who have signed up to the charity’s new scheme.  By joining the scheme the dental practice is placing the onus on their own team to actively prove they are carrying out a thorough head and neck cancer check at routine appointments.

The scheme is a ‘Two minutes to save a life’ screening protocol, which is a 10-point checklist that every dentist should be able to include in their routine examinations, whether they’re based at an NHS, private or mixed practice.  The charity accredits dental practices that meet the criteria. 

Here Practice Owner and Principal Dentist, James Robson outlines how the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme has inspired his team to raise public awareness of mouth cancer.

Practice Name:            Identity Individual Dental Care

Practice Address:        78 Wolviston Road, Billingham, TS22 5JF

Size of Practice:           2 dentists, 2 dental hygienists, a clinical dental technician, 4 dental nurse, a receptionist and a manager

Practice website:

Scheme Lead:              Gillian Fenwick

Tell Us about Your Practice

Identity Individual Dental Care in Billingham, North East of England, is a private, predominantly preventative/restorative dental practice.

Our practice was shortlisted as the “Best Preventative Dental Practice” in the national Dental and Hygiene Therapy Awards in London in 2012 and 2014.

Our dental hygienist, Gill Fenwick was awarded “Best Dental Hygienist UK – Highly Commended” at the Dental Hygiene and Therapy Awards in 2014. In 2012 she was awarded the Dental Hygiene and Therapy “Heart Your Smile Dental Award”. She continues her work as a Heart Your Smile Dental Charity Ambassador.

Niki Boersma, our practice manager, is President of ADAM.

We pride ourselves on our preventative ethos which incorporates gum health, oral cancer screening and patient awareness of dental health and its links to general wellness (oral-systemic health).

What attracted you to the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme?

As a preventative dental practice we could identify with the philosophy of the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme. We are always looking to support our patients and educate them about how their lifestyle choices can impact on their dental health and wellbeing. The way in which the scheme is structured made it an easy transition for our practice to adopt. It has been well constructed and we especially liked the high standard of the criteria that you have to meet to enable you to gain membership of the scheme and to display the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme wall plaque.

How has the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme helped Identity Individual Dental Care reach best practice standards in the management of mouth cancer in general practice?

The criteria set out by the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme are invaluable in supporting and guiding our team, ensuring that every team member from a receptionist to a clinician is aware of their individual responsibility in the management of mouth cancer within the practice. Having worked with the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme, the team feels more confident to talk to patients about the risk factors associated with mouth cancer such as alcohol consumption, smoking, poor nutrition and HPV exposure. Our dental hygienists and clinical dental technician carry out oral cancer screening at our practice as well as both our dentists. As a preventative practice, we are keen to share this philosophy with our patients as this is something we feel very passionate about.

We now display our Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme certificate in the main waiting room along with Mouth Cancer Foundation patient information leaflets. Patients are reading them and asking questions which they may not have asked previously. They are becoming aware that early detection is vital and are reassured that having regular mouth cancer screening with our dentists at their six monthly dental health check is a positive process.

What benefits has Identity Individual Dental Care seen for the team, patients and wider community since introducing the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme into practice?

We feel that by adopting the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme into the practice we have raised greater awareness of mouth cancer not only among our patients but also among our local community.

The 1 hour CPD for DCPs and the CPD for dentists reminded us of how vital it is to detect early lesions. We offer our community "Direct Access" to our dental hygienists, with the support of the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme CPD and other previous oral cancer training. Our hygienists are competent and confident in offering oral cancer screening as a part of their assessment of patients who may not have previously had access to this type of screening.

We have a practice policy for mouth cancer screening that is available for all our team to refer to, a clear primary care referral pathway for our local referral hospital should we need it and a checklist for writing a referral letter to allow an early diagnosis to be made.

We are involved with writing articles for our local "Billingham Community Newspaper" and we have used this to raise awareness of mouth cancer. We informed our community of our open door mouth cancer screening morning with our team in November 2013.  Now we can celebrate with our community on becoming "Practice of the Month" with Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme too!

What the Team thinks about the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme

At Identity Individual Dental Care dental clinicians have always screened for Mouth Cancer. However the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme has helped everyone carry out the screenings in a structured manner. The scheme has educated not only the clinicians but myself and other nurses in the practice. As a dental nurse my knowledge has greatly increased due to the CPD we had to complete to gain accreditation. Information given was very informative and I enjoyed completing it. Before implementing the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme into the practice I only knew a little about the subject but now I have much more knowledge and confidence and would be in a much better position to answer any questions if a patient was to ask me.

Chelsea Hood – Student Dental Nurse

What the Patients Say about Identity Individual Dental Care?

Oral cancer is a cancer that I never thought about. After a visit to identity Dental Practice my new knowledge has now made mouth cancer at the top of my list of health awareness. After being checked on a regular basis by my dentist, I know that I can go home feeling all is well with my mouth.


The Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme is open to any dental practice whose clinicians are registered with the GDC.  For more information or to join please contact the Mouth Cancer Foundation via or call +44 (0) 1924 950 950 for more information.


For general press enquiries, please contact:

Elizabeth Ayto Laverack or Izabela Nair

Media Ambitions - +44 208 940 2222


The Mouth Cancer Foundation –

The Mouth Cancer Foundation is a registered charity no. 1109298.

* The Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme helps dentists to know what they are looking for and how to check and refer patients.  This will allow head and neck cancers to be caught earlier.  Head and neck cancers are particularly vicious and debilitating when detected late.  Patients who survive are a huge drain on medical resources for the rest of their lives, in terms of post operative and the psychological care required.  With earlier detection, lives are saved and costs on the NHS will reduce dramatically. 

The scheme is a ‘Two minutes to save a life’ screening protocol, which is a 10-point checklist that every dentist should be able to include in their routine examinations. 

Full membership includes access to a dedicated section of the charity website and FREE 1 hour CPD element as well as professional development and training modules suitable for all members of the practice team to ensure regular screening benefits practice patients.

The Mouth Cancer Foundation is a charity solely dedicated to supporting people affected by head and neck cancer.  Support can play a pivotal role in meeting the psychosocial needs of patients. The Mouth Cancer Foundation’s online and telephone support service has given head and neck cancer patients and families the opportunity to articulate the consequences of their cancer journey and communicate their shared experiences. It is vital that the charity continues to provide free accessible information resources and ensure Mouth Cancer Foundation support is provided to those that need them.   

About Mouth Cancer

  • Around 60,000 people in the UK will be diagnosed with mouth cancer over the next decade.
  • In the UK, over 7,700 people were diagnosed with Mouth Cancer in 2011. 
  • Tobacco use is still considered the main cause of mouth cancer. According to the World Health Organisation, up to half of current smokers will die of a tobacco-related illness – including mouth cancer.
  • Drinking to excess can increase the risk of mouth cancer by four times.  Those who smoke and drink are up to 30 times more likely to develop mouth cancer.
  • Mouth cancer is twice more common in men than in women, though an increasing number of women are being diagnosed with the disease.
  • Age is another factor, with people over the age of 40 more likely to be diagnosed, though more young people are now being affected than previously.
  • Poor diet is linked to a third of all cancer cases.
  • Experts suggest the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), transmitted through oral sex, could overtake tobacco and alcohol as the main risk factor within the coming decade.
  • Cancers can occur in any part of the mouth, tongue, lips, and adjacent areas like the throat, salivary glands, pharynx, larynx, sinus, and other sites in the head and neck area.

Symptoms include:

  • An ulcer or white or red patch anywhere in the mouth that does not heal within 3 weeks.
  • A lump or swelling anywhere in the mouth, jaw or neck that persists for more than 3 weeks.
  • A difficulty in swallowing, chewing or moving the jaw or tongue.
  • A numbness of the tongue or other area of the mouth.
  • A feeling that something is caught in the throat.
  • A chronic sore throat or hoarseness that persists more than 6 weeks.
  •   An unexplained loosening of teeth with no dental cause.

More information about Mouth Cancer is available at the Mouth Cancer Foundation web site or by emailing




Microsoft Office document icon MCSAS Practice of the Month PR 01.10.14.doc