What is VELscope?

an empty dentist's chairIf you’ve ever been to the dentist, then you’ve heard about the importance of oral hygiene; brushing, flossing, and mouthwash are probably what immediately comes to mind. But did you know that there’s a noninvasive way to detect early-onset oral cancer? It’s called the VELscope, and it’s changing the cancer detection world.

So what is VELscope?

VELscope is a noninvasive LED fiberoptic light that shines in the patient’s mouth, detecting any lesions or abnormalities invisible to the naked eye. While the VELscope cannot distinguish benign abnormalities from cancerous ones, it reduces the risk of a malignant abnormalities being missed and can potentially catch early-onset oral cancer.

The VELscope does not replace any part of a standard oral examination. It also does not replace scalpel biopsies if an abnormality is found. If anything out of the ordinary is found, your dentist will likely refer you to an oral surgeon for a traditional scalpel biopsy.

How does VELscope work?

Essentially, the VELscope works by shining an LED light in the patient’s mouth. Healthy tissue will light up; abnormal tissue or lesions will not. The VELscope does not require any IV or oral contrast dyes, so testing can be performed at the office during routine exams. Any tissue that does not light up should be biopsied immediately for malignancy. The chances of the tissue being cancerous varies, but it’s better to have a suspicious area biopsied and have it return benign, rather than assume the spot is okay, only to have it be malignant.

The object of the VELscope is not to cause fear or anxiety; raising awareness is the main goal of this testing. The probability of the testing finding an abnormality is slim. However, regular testing, no matter how many previous tests have come back benign, is always an intelligent thing to do.

Ask about VELscope testing at your next wellness appointment at Susquehanna Dental Arts. The test can be done in minutes, and the peace of mind it can bring is well worth it. Visit us today, and get started on the path to great oral health!