April: Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Oral Cancer Awareness Month

The month of April has been dedicated oral cancer awareness month. This deadly form of cancer claims ONE life an hour in the US alone and has a 50% mortality rate five years beyond diagnosis. With statistics like these, it’s no wonder that medical professionals and researchers are dedicated to raising awareness.

Unfortunately, oral cancers are often not detected early because the symptoms can be painless, and many people are not aware of the disease. But the good news is that survival rate is high when oral cancers are found in the first stages. Awareness and early detection are key!

The Symptoms:

  • White or red patches inside the mouth or on the lips
  • Swelling, lumps, bumps, rough spots or eroded areas on the lips or inside the mouth
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Unexplained numbness or loss of feeling in mouth, face or neck
  • Persistent sores in the mouth that do not heal within 14 days
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue

The Risk Factors:

  • Age: The disease usually occurs over the age of 40
  • Gender: Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancers
  • Lifestyle: Tobacco use, including smokeless tobacco, and heavy alcohol use
  • Family or personal history: Those who have had oral cancer previously are at an increased risk of developing another oral cancer
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection

One of the best ways you can celebrate oral cancer awareness month is by visiting your trusted dentist for an oral cancer screening. During these appointments, you’ll receive a gentle examination looking for the common warning signs of this disease. By receiving regular screenings during your preventive dentistry appointments, you may significantly reduce your chances for oral cancer.

As your dentist, we consider ourselves a partner in your overall health care, helping you to enjoy the best quality of life every day. 


  1. Cancer.org
  2. Oral Cancer Foundation
  3. Cancer.gov

Celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month!

Did you know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease in children? It’s true! Helping your children maintain a healthy smile takes some extra work and vigilance, especially when they are still very young and may not be able to brush on their own. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM), so there is no better time than now to learn more about children’s oral care from your dental team at Dentistry by Design!

Dr. Sledge recommends the following strategies to set your kids up for a lifetime of dental success:

  • 2×2 – Your children should brush for two minutes, twice a day and they should floss just as often. Brush right alongside your kids to watch for proper technique, and play some fun music on your phone to make sure you brush long enough. Encourage them to spit out toothpaste, since getting too much fluoride can impact the appearance of their teeth.
  • Eat Healthy – Every parent knows just how many sweets are aimed at their kids. This compounds the problem for kids, since they’re already prone to tooth decay and cavities. Limit sugar – in foods and drinks (like fruit juices) – and stick to water, high-protein snacks, leafy greens, and dairy products. Cheese can protect tooth enamel so enjoy this healthy treat.
  • See Your Dentist – Since dental problems can arise as soon as teeth show up in the mouth, the ADA recommends scheduling your child’s first appointment no later than their first birthday. Kids should see our team at least twice a year for exams and cleanings.
  • Make It Fun – It’s important that kids get a good impression of the dentist when they’re young to encourage a lifelong habit of dental wellness. Watch cartoons and read children’s books about the dentist. Do dental activity sheets before your children’s appointment. (see below) Get them excited to visit the dentist!!
  • Set A Good Example – You know that your kids look up to you, so if you drink soda all day long, skimp on flossing, and don’t visit the dentist yourself, your children will pick up on that message.

Fun activity sheets for your children:

Now that you know what Children’s Dental Health Month is all about, take advantage of our $65 kids smile special  and give your son or daughter a smile that will last a lifetime! 

Schedule an appointment today! (920) 854-5200

Dr. Feit Visits Haiti To Help Set-up Permanent Dental Clinic

Dr. Paul Feit recently returned from a 9 day trip to Los Cacaos, Haiti where he and other missionaries worked to set-up and provide dental care at the areas first permanent dental clinic. Dr. Feit, Dr. Chris Hansen of Two Rivers Family Dental, three members of his practice, and other local missionaries partnered with the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Green Bay, Sister Maria Marciano Projects to set-up operations in the remote region of central Haiti. 

           Dental clinic in Los Cacaos, Haiti.

On their inaugural visit they were able to finish setting up the dental clinic, stocking it with over 650 pounds of supplies. These supplies were provided by each of the two practices with the help of New Franken based Dental Health Products. Preferred Dental Services generously donated used dental equipment to the project which allowed missionaries to set up three operatories in Los Cacaos.

              Dr. Paul Feit providing patient care.

           Dr. Chris Hansen evaluating a patient.

Dr. Hansen, a Dental Hygienist and two Assistants from his practice, Dr. Feit and six other Wisconsin missionaries were able to provide dental care for over 300 locals who showed no evidence of having previous dental work prior to their visit. Due to rugged terrain and lack of infrastructure, residents in the area have little access to medical and dental care, in fact there is typically only one dentist per one hundred thousand people. It is their goal to set-up recurring trips, two times per year, to Los Cacaos with other dental professionals who want to become involved.

                      Dental clinic waiting room.

Not only are they hoping other area dental professionals will consider joining future missions, they are also encouraging donations to the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Green Bay, Sister Maria Marciano Projects. Tax deductible donations help continue the work going on in Los Cacaos that extends beyond dentistry. In 2010 after the earthquake in Haiti, Sister Maria, a Brazilian, Catholic nun who began her charitable work in the Dominican Republic, expanded her efforts into neighboring Los Cacaos, Haiti. Educated in Brazil with degrees in Civil Engineering, Hydrology Engineering, Agronomy, Veterinary Science, Economics and Business Administration she has spearheaded projects such as building schools, creating road ways, and water projects to help deliver clean drinking water to locals. She has had the help of many Wisconsin missionaries over the years to accomplish these much needed projects.

        Missionaries with Sister Maria (Center).

For more information on the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Green Bay, Sister Maria Maciano Projects and how you can help, visit www.sistermariahaiti.com.

Providing Dental Care in Honduras

Dr. Paul Feit’s Mission Trip to Honduras!

I have heard many wonderful things about Ahuas, Honduras from my friend Rick Nelson, who has spent a great deal of time there over the years. Up until now, we have only been able to help the people of Ahuas through donations from Dentistry by Design.  Thanks to the great team of dentists at DBD I was able to remove myself from the schedule for a week and go see for myself the place and people that have profoundly impacted Rick’s life.
Door County Dentist Dr. Paul Feit donates time in Honduras to help with oral healthcareMy journey was eye-opening to say the least.  I traveled with Sturgeon Bay’s Amie Glasheen (pictured on left), who is a fourth-year dental student at Marquette.  She was my assistant and also helped treat patients in the dental clinic in Ahuas.  Third-year Marquette dental student Mariella Kruthoff (pictured on right) was also part of our team.  Mariella interpreted for us as well as provided care to some of the patients. We were met by Rick who got us to the village safely and provided us with room and board during our stay.

Door County Dentist Paul Feit and the airplane used to fly into HondurasThere are only two ways into Ahuas, by dugout canoe or airplane.  Here we are unloading our gear from the twin turbine that we just landed in on a semi-gravel strip in Bruce, Honduras. This is the terminal, puddles and all.  We transferred our four hundred pounds of gear and four passengers into a Cessna 206 and somehow managed to get off the ground in route to Ahuas.  As a fellow Cessna pilot, you can imagine my surprise when I realized my seat was not attached to the airplane.  I had a hard time deciding if I was better off with the seat belt on or off.
Door County Dentist Dr. Feit and Amie working in the dental clinic in Hondruas

Arriving safely in Ahuas, we began our mission work. The dental room was powered by a combination of solar power and generator.  The equipment is old and very used, but worked as we needed it to.  My operator stool had been duct taped and only had 4 out of five wheels. Although new equipment would be ideal, shipping it to the clinic often costs many times more than the price of the equipment, which is an expense they cannot afford.

Amie, Mariella and I treated over 100 patients in 4.5 days.  We filled dozens of teeth and extracted over 170 teeth.  The residents of Ahuas have previously only had access to a dentist one week a year.  For the last twelve years, a couple from Ohio has graciously gone down to Ahuas one week a year to provide dental care.  We were the first team to go there to focus on Oral Surgery.  You can imagine there was no shortage of work for us.
Door County Dentist Dr. Feit and a patient he worked with in Honduras

The heat was so extreme in Ahuas that by 10 a.m., which is when this picture was taken, I had already sweat through my scrub top.  I carried a towel to dry my hands enough so I could put my gloves on for procedures.  The woman pictured here walked an hour each way, for three days straight, until we were able to get her to the front of the line.  She had three infected teeth and had been in pain for months. We were able to get her out of pain and treat her to the best of our ability.

Door County Dentist Dr. Feit and team work with local Honduras Children Teaching Them Oral HygieneWe also visited the Christian School in Ahuas which had about 50 students.  We gave them a toothbrush, paste, fluoride treatment and an exam as well as notebooks, colored pencils, stickers, scissors and a soccer ball.  Here they are getting a lesson from Amie and Mariella on the proper way to brush their teeth.

I am still sitting back mentally digesting this trip.  I can’t believe what we saw there.  What a different world.  In America, we are more fortunate than we even know.  We should all pause and give thanks for our many blessings!

Community Benefits from DBD Volunteer Workday

Our volunteer workday utilizes the skills of our team members as a means to give back to the wonderful communities we are apart of.  The volunteer workday occurs three times a year at both our Sturgeon Bay and Sister Bay offices (Algoma will begin in 2016).  On each of those days our amazing team members, who previously agreed to volunteer a half day, come in on their day off to see patients for dental cleanings and various procedures.  What makes this day different from any regular clinic day is that not only is our team volunteering their time, but they donate two-thirds of the funds they receive to the community.


DBD team members drop off a donation to the Boys and Girls Club of Door County.

“When the team donates their time, it eliminates our greatest expense.  We then take two-thirds of that half day’s production and donate it back to the community.  We retain a third to cover expenses like lab fees and supplies that pertain to that specific day, but nothing more.  With donated time and expertise and only having to cover costs we incur from outside sources we are able to make a more impactful donation.” states DBD Accountant, Teri Hooker.

Our volunteer workdays were established as a result of an unsuccessful attempt to help build a house with Habitat for Humanity.  Dr. Paul Feit states, “Originally we wanted to get a crew of DBD team members together to help build a house for a family in need, but due to conflicting schedules and weather challenges our team was unable to help build in 2014. We all felt strongly about giving back so we decided that the best way to do so was to utilize our professional talents.  We presented the idea and our amazing team jumped onboard right away.  It is a great way to help organizations like Habitat and individuals in our area in need in a way that fit into our busy schedules.”

Presenting a donation to Southern Door Elementary teachers.

Southern Door Elementary teachers receive a donation from DBD.

Our volunteer workdays are a collaboration between our team members and patients, with our team members collectively agreeing on who the funds are distributed to. Since the inception of the program in 2014 we are proud to announce that we have donated approximately $29,000 to individuals and families in need and various organizations in the Door County community. Organizations that have benefited include Backpack Buddies, Bark for Life, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin, Door County 4K & 5K Teachers, Door County High School Senior Banquets, Door County Veteran’s Council, Go Bo Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Loaves & Fishes, Neighbor to Neighbor, Northern Door Childcare Project, Special Olympics, The Boys and Girls Club of Door County, and The Ronald McDonald House Charities.

We would like to thank our amazing patients for helping us with our Volunteer Workdays. We couldn’t have done this without your continued support and patronage to our practices.