A traditional oral cancer screening by your Staten Island dentist typically involves an intra and extra oral head and neck examination to find abnormalities using palpation, or touch, and reflective light. While feeling for lumps in the face and mouth can indicate obvious precancerous or cancerous areas, viewing the mucosa with the naked eye is not the most accurate or effective method of finding abnormalities in their early stages.

The VELscope uses fluorescent light of a specific wavelength to excite fluorophores, triggering them to emit their own light in various patterns. A lack of fluorescence indicates a tissue abnormality. Based on the response, doctors can distinguish between healthy and anomalous mucosal tissue, which can be due to causes such as a bacterial, fungal or viral infection; inflammation; salivary gland tumor; or squamous cell papilloma.

Early detection is particularly important with oral cancer, which has an encouraging survival rate when treated in its beginning stages. With everyday factors such as tobacco use and alcohol consumption; infection of the Human Papilloma Virus; a history of cancer; and a compromised immune system, more people are susceptible to the disease today than ever before. During your next routine exam at Oakwood Dental Arts in Staten Island, inquire about receiving this quick oral cancer screening using the VELscope.