New dental technology has helped us thrive as a business and improve the care we give our patients. Whether we are using technology to help whiten teeth, X-rays to get an idea of what is going on inside of a mouth or countless other advancements, keeping up with state of the art tools has been a priority.
West Willow Dental is now offering patients free cancer screenings during check-ups using the VELscope, a non-invasive device that detects tissue abnormalities. This is something we believe is very important to offer, as finding cancer in its early stages improves a patient’s chances for survival.
There are no painful tools, dyes or complicated processes with this process. The VELscope is handheld and can be used to easily find any problem in oral tissue within seconds. This helps us quickly scan for abnormalities and keep total health as our No. 1 priority.
Oral cancer affects thousands each year
Most dentists check for red and white patches, sores and feel for lumps or other inconsistencies. Sores are common, but a trained eye will be able to tell if it may be trouble.
While visual checks are important, the VELscope gives us one more tool in our fight to make sure patients are healthy. Even a small patch of cancerous growth found could be deadly if left for too long.
While patients may not necessarily think they are at risk for oral, head or neck cancer, it is actually the sixth most common form of the disease. More than 39,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year, according to the National Cancer Institute. Twice as many men are diagnosed. It can cause changes in chewing, speech and general oral health, among other things.
An estimated 1 in 95 adults will contract oral or pharyngeal cancer at some point, with the median age being 62 years old. The NCI noted this median age might fall due to the association of human papillomavirus (HPV) and oral cancer, which usually occurs in younger people.
The American Dental Association said the risk for oral cancer generally increases past the age of 44; all of these facts are essential to keep in mind for those going in for a check-up or cleaning. Patients must be certain their mouths are not only clean and well taken care of but cancer-free.
Those at risk for oral cancer who should be screened as soon as possible include:
- Tobacco users of any kind
- Those who drink alcohol heavily
- People who have had a previous diagnosis of cancer anywhere else in the body
Don’t wait until it is too late
Cancer is one of the hardest and deadliest diseases to fight. Instead of waiting until it is too late, contact our offices for a check-up appointment. Our free oral cancer screening with the VELscope will help catch signs of cancer early and give patients the opportunity to fight the disease from the start.