Velscope Oral Cancer Screening at Westwood Dental Smiles
More than 35,000 cases of oral and throat cancers are diagnosed in the United States every year. The high mortality rate has remained consistent for decades, mainly because of late detection. People who are highly at risk of developing the condition are those with a family history of oral cancer, and those who smoke/chew tobacco and drink alcohol excessively. At Westwood Dental Smiles, Los Angeles dentist Dr. Anderkvist recommends early detection and oral cancer treatment of oral cancer to increase the patient’s chances of survival.
We have recently added a new procedure to your routine oral cancer screening and examination, that will complement our visual examination. Previously we have always checked your head and neck and inside your mouth relying on our own abilities and white light only to differentiate between what is normal and what is not.
We have implemented a new screening device called velscope that will assist us in the discovery of any abnormal tissue change. A suspicious area could be from cheek biting or something more serious. Either way identifying abnormalities in the early stages is critical.
What is Velscope?
Dr. Anderkvist uses the cutting-edge Velscope system to screen patients for oral cancer. Velscope features a viewing scope and light source that gives your dentist a detailed view of the mouth. Under the special light, normal tissues show bright green, while abnormal tissues show as dark spots. It does not always mean that the patient has cancer if dark spots are detected. Dr. Anderkvist may schedule a second scan or noninvasive biopsy to make sure.
There is no pain, rinses or stains only a blue light that helps the Velscope to identify abnormalities in your mouth. It’s our ethical obligation to you as a patient to examine your mouth thoroughly and identify any tissue that heels abnormal. Unfortunately the mortality from oral cancer has failed to decrease over the last decades with oral cancer being the sixth most common cancer and one person dying every hour from it in the US. There are more people dying from oral cancer then from cervical cancer.
Other cancers have decreased because of routine screenings like the PSA test, the Pap test and mammography. If detected early the success rate is in the 90% range. You should have this exam at least once a year. In the meantime you should check yourself a few times per year at home just like a self breast exam:
What are the warning signs of Pre-Malignant Oral Lesions?
- Red or White discolorations of the soft tissues
- Indurations or hard spots on the tongue, particularly on lateral borders
- A sore in the mouth that bleeds easily or doesn’t heal rapidly
- A sore in the mouth presenting abnormal color or texture that hasn’t healed within 14 days or had a possible etiology identified
- Pain or difficulty in swallowing, speaking or chewing
- Wart-like masses
- Hoarseness lasting for a long time
- Numbness in the orofacial region
- Unilateral persistent earache
- A painless, but hard cervical lymph node for which an infectious process cannot be determined
- Pay particular attention to the under , top and side surfaces of the tongue and the soft palate
Because oral cancer shares many symptoms with common mouth diseases, screening with Velscope helps detect lesions and changes happening beneath the surface. VELscope screening is also FDA-approved, safe, quick and non-invasive. Other benefits:
- Detects lesions, colored patches, and precancerous and cancerous changes
- Confirms the removal of diseased tissues after treatment
- Dental Scans are easily enhanced, edited and transmitted.
What to Expect at the Clinic
Velscope oral cancer screening takes about 3 minutes. Your Westwood Dental Smiles professional will perform a visual examination of the oral cavity and surrounding areas. Dr.Anderkvist will then dim the lights and ask you to open your mouth. Dr. Anderkvist will shine the scope in your mouth to check for problems.
Is it time for your annual oral cancer screening? Call us at 310-208-4084 or request an appointment at Westwood Dental Smiles.