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Oral Cancer Screening

Oral Cancer Screening

It's the word that seems to be everywhere these days and one that no one likes to hear — cancer. Medical professionals continue to develop new ways to detect it, defend against it and beat it, and the dentist's office is no exception. We perform annual oral cancer screenings to every patient to help identify oral cancer risk factors. It is an important part of the preventive care we provide to optimize your oral health.

About Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can occur in the mouth, back of the throat, lips, salivary glands, tonsils, esophagus, tongue and soft tissues. An oral cancer screening is a precautionary oral, head and neck exam performed by a dentist to identify mouth cancer early. Early detection of oral cancer may make it easier to fight the severity of the cancer, curtail its spread and reduce the amount of cancer treatment required. The best part? The oral cancer exam takes less than 5 minutes and can be completed without ever leaving the dentist’s chair.

The Oral Cancer Screening

Here at Uptown Dental, the oral cancer screening takes place at every patient's first visit and is repeated once per year as part of your regular checkup. To complete your exam, Dr. Lenz or Dr. Mueller will perform inspections and palpitations of your face, oral cavity, mouth floor, lips, cheeks, tongue, tonsils, neck and nose. He will look and feel for any abnormalities in your mouth that might indicate a problem. He will also ask you about your lifestyle and behaviors that indicate risk factors for oral cancer, such as tobacco use.

Most of the exam only requires a few standard tools—overhead lighting, a mirror and a tongue depressor. Some dentists use other specialized tools, including the dentists at Uptown Dental. VELscope is an oral cancer screening system designed to block reflected blue light and enhance the contrast between abnormal and normal tissue. This tool helps Dr. Lenz and Dr. Mueller identify abnormalities and improves the accuracy of your oral health examination.

Emergency Dentistry

Emergencies will be seen the same day they occur. If you experience a dental emergency, please call our office immediately. If your tooth is knocked out, please either place the tooth in your cheek or in a glass of milk. It is very important NOT to scrub the tooth.

About VELscope The Oral Cancer Screening System

The VELscope oral cancer screening system helps your dentist visualize abnormalities in the mucosal tissues of your lips, mouth and upper throat. In just two minutes, with no rinses, stains or discomfort, a VELscope examination improves our assessment of your overall oral health. VELscope's blue light "excites" molecules called "fluorophores" deep within the layers of oral mucosal tissues. A filter makes fluorescence visualization possible. It blocks reflected blue light, enhancing the contrast between normal and abnormal tissue. This painless technology provides your dentist with a clear assessment of the possible signs of cancerous tissue.

It is important to note that oral cancer screenings are precautionary, not diagnostic. If your dentist does find a sign or symptom of oral cancer, he will refer you for further testing to fully investigate the issue. Please contact us if you have questions about oral cancer, the risk factors for oral cancer, and the screenings we perform.