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VELscope Oral Cancer Screening

Professional dental cleanings and exams, in addition to daily brushing and flossing, are an integral component of maintaining a healthy mouth. Exams are important for detecting the presence of a variety of different oral health issues in their earliest stages. In addition to examining your teeth and gums for common issues like tooth decay and gum disease, your mouth is also checked for the early warning signs of oral cancer. At Mettler & Griego Family Dentistry, we do this with the help of VELscope.

What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is the largest group of head and neck cancers. Also, when not detected and treated in the early stages, it can be a fatal condition. Oral cancer can begin in just about any region of the mouth, including the lips, tongue, cheeks, gums, and more. While it begins in the mouth, it can quickly spread to affect other regions of your body. Early detection is essential for diagnosing oral cancer and providing you with the treatment you need. Detection is done during your routine oral exams with an oral cancer screening.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

There are some different factors that can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. These risk factors include:
•  Lifestyle habits. Tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption can both significantly increase your risk. Approximately 90% of oral cancer patients have been smokers. Between 70 and 80% of oral cancer patients have used alcohol.
•  Family history. If a close blood relative has suffered oral cancer, you are at an increased risk.
•  HPV. There are many strains of HPV. Only a handful have shown to have a connection with oral cancer, with HPV16 having the strongest link.
•  Your age. Older adults, those over the age of 55, are at an increased risk. Additionally, males are at a greater risk than females.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

There are several different symptoms that can point toward oral cancer. Symptoms include:
•  Unusual growths on your intraoral tissues.
•  Red or white patches.
•  Sores that do not seem to want to heal, particularly those that do not heal even after a couple of weeks.
•  A noticeable change in your bite or in the way your dentures fit.
•  A numb sensation in your chin or jaw.
•  Difficulty swallowing or breathing.

Using VELscope to Detect Oral Cancer

Your oral cancer screening is an integral component of your routine dental exams. As we examine your teeth and gums, we also visually inspect the soft tissues inside your mouth, checking for unusual growths and other abnormalities. In addition to a visual examination of your intraoral tissues, we also can perform a complete oral cancer screening with VELscope. VELscope is a non-invasive, handheld tool. The device emits a light that can show us the presence of potentially cancerous and precancerous tissues.

When performing your scan, the device is held at the entrance of your mouth. It emits a harmless blue light into your mouth. Looking through a specialized lens, we examine your tissues. Healthy tissue appears green through the lens. Precancerous and cancerous tissues, however, absorb the light and appear black. Because of this, we can determine an accurate border of the tissue, which allows for complete removal.

Regular dental exams are not only important for detecting cavities and gum disease, but for detecting the early warning signs of oral cancer. By detecting oral cancer early, we can help you to get the treatment you need to restore the health of your mouth. Early treatment can even save your life. For more information on VELscope, and to schedule your next dental exam, call Mettler & Griego Family Dentistry at (623) 562-5230 today.

7505 W. Deer Valley Rd, STE100, Peoria, AZ 85382-2107

Office Hours:
Monday: 7:00am – 5:00pm
Tuesday: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Wednesday: 7:00am – 2:00pm
Thursday: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Friday: 7:00am – 12:00pm
Saturday-Sunday: Closed