Not only are we interested in preventing decay and keeping your smile beautiful and healthy, our practice is devoted to your general health as well. Therefore, we spend some time during each routine exam to check for indicators of oral cancer.
As with other forms of cancer, the key to a successful treatment is early detection. We will examine your mouth for abnormalities in your throat and mouth tissue as well as look for more apparent symptoms such as lumps and sores. If we do happen to see or feel something of concern, we will perform a simple swab test where we collect some of the cells in the area and check for abnormal cellular activity.
Continued improvements in cancer screening technologies have brought us two very effective oral cancer screening systems, ViziLite® Plus and VELscope. ViziLite® Plus is a quick and painless method and utilizes a special mouthwash that makes abnormal cells more visible under low intensity illumination. The VELscope oral cancer screening system, also painless, uses a white light and special scope to allow us to better visualize the tissues in the mouth. Any abnormal areas will appear significantly darker than the normal tissue.
Remember that abnormal tissue does not necessarily mean that you have oral cancer. If we do find any signs of irregularity, we will likely schedule a follow-up appointment or a biopsy.