The VELscope System
A VELscope is a handheld scope the dentists of Long Island Smile use to detect abnormalities in the tissue of a patients mouth. This device is used to detect, most specifically, cancer and pre-cancer abnormalities. We use VELscope for our oral examinations because it does not require any dyes or uncomfortable, drawn out tests. With VELscope, we can get you in and out of your dental hygiene exam in just two minutes.
Not all diseases can be seen by the naked eye. The VELscope handheld device uses a harmless, bright blue light to inspect your mouth and tongue so the dentist can see problem spots in a way natural light would otherwise hide. This specific light is sensitive to unnatural tissue changes. These abnormalities show up in the mouth as fluoresce, allowing our dentists to identify problem spots instantly through a change in a distinct, healthy pattern.
Why Should You Get Screened for Oral Cancer?
The VELscope device is so sensitive to tissue changes, our dentists and hygienists are better able to discover abnormal tissues earlier so our patients are safer. If we discover suspicious cells early on in a patient, the five year survival rate is eighty five percent positive, while the oral cancer is still localized and confined to one site. Only thirty three percent of all oral cancer patients have localized abnormalities due to late discovery. If the cancer is found while it is still regional (that is inside of the regional lymph nodes) these patients survival rate is only fifty five percent. Forty six percent of all oral cancer patients have regional cancer. Like all cancer, tumors found in a later stage are harder to treat and so the survival rate is dramatically smaller than those who had discovered the disease in an earlier stage. Only thirty two percent survive this disease when diagnosed in a later stage and only fourteen percent of oral cancer patients find their cancer late, thanks to consistent screening. Patients who had not been screened regularly are at a higher risk for finding it in a later stage which reduces their survival rate to fifty percent.
Today, research shows that oral cancer can be found in individuals who have the Human Papilloma Virus, people who use tobacco or drink an excessive amount of alcohol. If you have a compromised immune system or a history of cancer, it is important that you get screened regularly to prevent and catch oral cancer before it grows.
Oral cancer affects more than the health of the mouth but also the overall physical and psychological wellbeing of the patient. The pain caused by oral cancer cripples the patient's ability to chew, swallow, talk, sleep and truly function. The patients face will distort as the disease progresses, leading to depression and reclusive behavior. However, there is no reason you or anyone you love should have to suffer from oral cancer. With consistent screenings at Long Island Smile, our doctors can ensure your health and catch abnormalities early.
Call Long Island Smile today at (516) 243-7473 for your oral cancer screening!