Oral cancer is often deemed the “forgotten disease,” because it kills more people than testicular cancer, cervical cancer and cancer of the brain each year and receives little publicity in return. At Canmore Smiles, Dr. Grant Moldenhauer and Dr. Brian Piercy provide annual oral cancer screening services. Our FDA-approved VELscope® offers dentists another examination tool to help detect oral cancer in its earliest stages. The VELscope® is a blue excitation lamp, which highlights precancerous and cancerous cell changes. Contact us to learn more.
How Does the VELscope® Work?
The VELscope® uses Fluorescence Visualization (FV) in an exciting new way. Essentially, bright blue light is shone into the mouth to expose changes and lesions that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye. One of the biggest difficulties in diagnosing oral cancer is that its symptoms look similar to symptoms of less serious problems. The VELscope® System affords the dentist important insight as to what is happening beneath the surface.
The healthy soft tissue of the mouth naturally absorbs the VELscope® frequency of blue light. Healthy areas beneath the surface of the soft tissue show up green, and the problem areas become much darker.
Here are some of the advantages of using the VELscope® System:
Can be combined with digital photography
Detects lesions, white and red patches
Detects problem areas that cannot be seen under white light
Exposes precancerous and cancerous tissue
Helps dentists check that diseased soft tissue is completely removed
Helps diagnose oral cancer in its earliest stages, exponentially increasing the chance of survival
Quick, painless examinations
How Is the VELscope® Examination Performed?
The VELscope® examination literally takes only two or three minutes. It is a painless and noninvasive procedure that saves many lives every single year.
Here is a brief overview of what a VELscope® examination is like:
Initially, the dentist will perform a regular visual examination of the whole lower face. This includes the glands, tongue, cheeks and palate as well as the teeth. Next a pre-rinse solution is swilled around the mouth for slightly less than a minute. The dentist provides special eyewear to protect the integrity of the retinas. The lights in the room are dimmed to allow a clear view of the oral cavity.
The small VELscope® is bent to project blue light inside the mouth. Lesions and other indicators of oral cancer are easily noticeable because they appear much darker under the specialized light.
If symptoms are noted, the dentist may take a biopsy there and then to determine whether or not this is oral cancer. The results of the biopsy dictate the best course of action from there. Otherwise, another oral cancer screening is performed in one year’s time.
If you have any questions or concerns about oral cancer screening or the VELscope® system, please contact our office.
Should You Replace Your Amalgam Fillings?
Metal was once the most commonly used dental material used to fill cavities and repair damage. However, amalgam fillings are less popular than they used to be for a variety of reasons. If you currently have fillings that contain amalgam, you may have been told you should have them removed and replaced with newer composites. The reality is, there are several important factors to consider before deciding which material to use.
How Oral Surgery is Used to Benefit Your Long-Term Oral Health
Ideal oral health involves making sure that teeth are not only healthy but that the surrounding structures in and around the mouth function correctly. Maxillofacial Surgery, more commonly known as oral surgery, focuses on treating many diseases, injuries, and defects in the head, neck, face, jaws, and hard and soft tissues of the mouth. Oral surgery is essential for addressing both the functional and aesthetic aspects of the areas listed above.
Understanding the Causes of Sleep Apnea
For some, snoring is merely an inconvenient late-night distraction. What many don’t realize, however, is that snoring may be an indication of a deeper health issue – sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a common disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts while a person sleeps. This condition can often go undiscovered for some time, but specific symptoms can indicate you may need to undergo a sleep study.