Your next teeth cleaning could save your life. Dentists use a new device called the “Velscope” to detect oral cancer before it surfaces.
According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, someone dies from oral cancer every hour of every day in the United States alone. This cancer, found in the mouth, lips or throat, is often highly curable if diagnosed and treated early. Unfortunately, in its early stages, oral cancer can go unnoticed.
“Dentists are the gatekeepers of the oral cavity, and it’s our responsibility to catch diseases as early as possible,” said Dr. Kurt Black with Timberhill Dental in Corvallis.
Creating awareness, discovery, diagnosis, and referral. When it comes to oral cancer and saving lives, these are the primary responsibilities of the dental community. The most important step in reducing the death rate from oral cancer is early discovery. No group has a better opportunity to have an impact than members of the dental community.
About 34,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year and more than half of those won’t live five years past diagnosis. “It is amazing how little attention oral cancers get,” said Dr. Black, “because getting oral cancer is more common than getting cervical cancer.”
The Velscope does not diagnose but rather it just finds areas that look suspicious. If detected early, 90 percent of oral cancer cases are curable.
Dentists saving lives? Now more than ever a reality with the development of Velscope. As easy as looking through a camera lens, we are now better equipped to discover potentially malignant lesions in time to save many lives.
Every dental office needs this instrument.
Ken Neuman, DMD, FAGD, FADI, FICD, FACD
The Velscope examination takes less than five minutes. Dr. Black said since they first got the dental device a couple months ago, he’s used it on every patient that’s walked through his door and has already found a few patients that need a second look.
Here’s how it works. The Velscope gives off a blue light on the inside of a patient’s mouth. Oral tissues then react to that flourescent light. Through the scope, a healthy mouth turns light green. Problem areas shine maroon.
Materials by Elissa Harrington and velscope.com