About Oral Cancer
Oral cancer describes any type of cancerous tissue that develops within your mouth or the back of your throat, or pharynx. Most dentists perform a visual check to look for any abnormal tissues on your tongue, cheeks, gums, throat, jaw, and the roof of your mouth. In many cases, however, oral cancer is not visible and does not present any noticeable symptoms. The VELscope® device allows our dentists to detect even very slight signs of pre-cancer and cancer.
In the case that oral cancer does present symptoms, they may include:
- White or red patches on your tongue, gums, and other oral tissues
- Throat blockage or swelling
- Oral pain, numbness, or tenderness
- Difficulty chewing, speaking, or swallowing
- Pain in one or both ears and the surrounding tissues
- A visible growth or thickened area within your mouth
- General soreness in the mouth
If you have noticed any symptoms associated with oral cancer, make an appointment at Dental Solutions. We will schedule a special appointment for you before your regular cleaning to screen you for oral cancer and other lesions.
The VELscope® Screening
Whether you are coming in for a regularly scheduled cleaning appointment or have set up an oral cancer screening because of symptoms, we will perform a thorough examination of your oral tissues. Dr. Stofer will look for any visible dysplasia (abnormal growth) within your mouth. Next, we will perform the VELscope® test.
VELscope® screening is performed with a handheld blue-spectrum light. Your dentist will carefully move this light around the different areas of your mouth and look for any changes in fluorescence. The blue-spectrum of light the VELscope® emits is sensitive to abnormal tissues and will highlight any areas that call for further examination. The VELscope® procedure takes just a few minutes and is completely painless.
If Dr. Stofer detects any potential dysplasia within your smile, we may perform a biopsy or recommend that you see a specialist. To perform a biopsy, a small amount of the suspicious-looking area will be excised and sent to a laboratory for testing. Your dentist will determine which step is best for you based on the state of your oral and general health.
Feel Confident in Your Oral Health
Oral cancer screening is an important part of preventive care. Caught early, oral cancer has many treatment options with very high success rates. Ensuring that your smile is free from dangerous tissues is easy. Simply maintain your regular visits to Dental Solutions, and speak with us if you discover any change to your oral health between visits. To schedule your appointment and ask any questions you have about oral cancer, contact Dental Solutions today.