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Utah's Only Practicing Oral Pathologist

Bryan Trump, DDS, MS, is one of a kind in Utah. He is the only practicing board certified oral and maxillofacial pathologist in the state. "An oral pathologist is the dental counterpart to a medical pathologist or a general pathologist," says Trump. "I diagnose cancer and tumors in the head, neck, jaw, and so forth using tissue samples, X-rays, or photos sent to me by dental clinicians."

Until now all oral biopsy samples done in Utah have been sent out of state for diagnosis. "Usually it's where a dentist has trained. They just send back to wherever they know a pathologist," Trump says. Unfortunately for clinicians, that can mean a longer wait period. "The typical turnaround time is between one and three weeks," he says. "But taking the mail out of that equation means I can provide a diagnosis in a matter of days." It's about more than just turnaround time though according to Trump. "I am just a phone call away, and right up the road," he says.

As his practice grows Trump says he hopes to provide service not only for dental clinicians in Utah, but other states in the region as well. "There's not an oral pathologist in Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, or New Mexico," he says. "Now we have this service that we would like to provide for dentists in this state and adjoining states."

While Trump focuses on the head and neck, those are not necessarily the cancers he diagnoses. "There are a large number of cases of metastatic cancer where the first time it presents is in the jaws or the gums or elsewhere in the mouth," he says. "That's the case when a dentist can be the first to diagnose lung cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, depending on how it presents in that patient and their symptoms." And cancer is not the only condition he diagnoses. "There are a lot of benign things that occur. Diagnosing autoimmune and systemic diseases that occur within the mouth," he says. "In a lot of cases the first presentation that a patient has of an autoimmune disease or some type of an illness is in the mouth,"

Trump set his career path early in his education. "I was training in my first year and fell in love with pathology," he says. "My undergrad is in microbiology so I felt it was the perfect blend between my degree and what I loved." Working in oral pathology would also allow Trump to move back to Utah, where he had grown up, and wanted to raise his family. "I knew there wasn't an oral pathologist in the state. It was at that point I realized this was a no-brainer. I want to go back home, plus do something unique," he says. Now he is ready to get to work. "I'm thrilled to be back. A great day is when I get a chance to help patients by helping clinicians get diagnoses."