Oral Cancer Screening
Part of maintaining optimal oral health is twice yearly dental exams. These exams are designed to spot a myriad of oral health issues in their earliest stages, allowing proper treatment to be administered before they worsen. In many cases, early treatment can prevent the need for more invasive, more expensive, treatments later on. During these exams, we check the condition of your teeth, looking for signs of decay and damage, and the condition of your gums, looking for signs of infection. Another integral component of your oral exam is an oral cancer screening, which we complete with Velscope.
Oral cancer is a devastating disease that affects over 40,000 Americans every year. Also called cancer of the mouth, oral cancer can strike anywhere in the oral region, including the lips, the tongue, the cheeks, the gums, the palate, the floor of the mouth, and the back of the mouth near the entrance to the throat. If not found and treated early, oral cancer can quickly spread to other parts of the body and can be fatal. For this reason, detecting oral cancer in its early stages is essential.
Am I at Risk for Oral Cancer?
There are some different factors that can increase your risk of developing oral cancer.
Oral Cancer Screening With Velscope
Oral cancer screenings are a regular part of your biannual dental exams. These screenings involve the visual inspection of the soft tissues of your mouth, as we check for any signs of abnormalities. If we do find anything, this often leads to a biopsy, which involves the removal of a small sample of the abnormality for further examination under a microscope.
The Velscope oral cancer scanner is an additional tool that we use to aid in the early detection of oral cancer. This noninvasive device uses a specialized white light source, which is used to detect possible precancerous abnormalities in your mouth in their earliest stages. All we have to do is hold the scanner at the entrance of your mouth. The device emits a blue light inside. We then look through a specialized lens to examine your oral tissues. On healthy tissue, the light appears as a fluorescent green. Potentially cancerous or precancerous tissue, however, absorbs the light, causing that tissue to appear black. Despite the many layers of tissue in your mouth, the Velscope oral cancer scanner can detect the smallest abnormalities in the very beginning stages, which allows for prompt treatment before anything serious occurs. The way the light is absorbed into the abnormality also aids in providing us with a more accurate border, which then allows for a more accurate, and complete, removal of the potentially dangerous tissue.
The early detection of oral cancer is essential for the protection of your health. With the Velscope oral cancer scanner, we can check for any abnormalities in the soft tissues of your mouth while they are still in their earliest stages. For more information, and to schedule your dental exam, call Neu Family Dental today at (847) 230-9143.
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