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(540) 667-8731
Shenandoah button for icon location 1705 Amherst St #102
Winchester, VA
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Oral Cancer Screening With VELscope

Taking care of your mouth at home by brushing and flossing every day is essential for preventing issues such as cavities and gum disease. In addition to your home care routine, it is also important to have your teeth regularly cleaned and examined at least twice a year. During your dental exams, we look over your teeth and gums, checking for early warning signs of oral health issues. Spotting issues in their early stages are essential for providing fast, effective treatment to prevent these issues from getting worse. Also, a critical part of your exams is an oral cancer screening. At Shenandoah Family Dentistry, we perform oral cancer screenings with VELscope.

What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer also called cancer of the mouth, is a group of cancers that affect the head and neck region. It is serious cancer that affects over 40,000 Americans every year. If not found and treated early, it can spread to other parts of the body and can become fatal. One of the biggest issues is that the early stages of oral cancer are not always apparent. This often results in being diagnosed too late. Only just over half of those diagnosed survive past five years. Early detection is key to getting prompt treatment and surviving oral cancer.

Velscope logo at Shenandoah Family Dentistry

Who Is at Risk for Oral Cancer?

There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing oral cancer:
•  Certain lifestyle habits. Using tobacco products and heavy drinking both significantly increase your risk. Approximately 90% of oral cancer patients were smokers or used other types of tobacco products while up to 80% of patients were heavy drinkers.
•  HPV. There are numerous strains of HPV or human papillomavirus. HPV16 is shown to have the strongest link to oral cancer.
•  Family history. If close blood relatives have had oral cancer, your risk is higher.
•  Age. Older adults, particularly men, are at an increased risk. Men are twice as likely than women to develop oral cancer, with most patients being over the age of 55.

What Are the Symptoms?

The earliest symptoms of oral cancer are often difficult to detect. This is why regular dental exams are so important. Knowing what to look for between your regular dental visits can help you to take action sooner.
•  Unusual growths on the soft tissues in your mouth.
•  Red or white patches on your oral tissues.
•  Sores that do not want to heal.
•  Changes in your bite. If you wear dentures, you may notice that your dentures suddenly no longer fit properly.
•  A numb sensation in your chin or jaw.
•  You find it difficult to chew, speak, or swallow.

Oral Cancer Screenings With VELscope

Oral cancer screenings are a standard part of your regular oral exams. This screening is a visual scan of the soft tissues in your mouth. We check your gums, tongue, cheeks, and other oral tissues for signs of changes, growths, and other abnormalities. We also use the VELscope oral cancer scanner during your screening.

The VELscope scanner is a handheld device that we hold at the opening of your mouth. The scanner emits a blue light onto your tissues. We then look through a specialized lens that can help us to detect the presence of potentially precancerous tissue. When we look through the lens, healthy tissue appears green. Potentially cancerous and precancerous tissues, on the other hand, absorb the light and appear black. We can see an accurate border of the abnormality, which aids in the complete removal of the tissue. If a diagnosis of oral cancer is made, we can then help you to get the treatment you need right away.

With the assistance of VELscope, we can detect oral cancer in its earliest stages, allowing us to help you get the treatment you need to prevent serious consequences. For more information, contact Shenandoah Family Dentistry at (540) 667-8731 today.
Shenandoah Family Dentistry | | (540) 667-8731
1705 Amherst St #102, Winchester, VA 22601
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