While detecting and treating dental conditions such as cavities and gum disease are top priorities to dentists and their patients, statistics on oral cancer suggest that routine screening for this condition is very important. Each year, as many as 30,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed. Deaths linked to oral cancer amount to about 8,000 annually. While there are several risk factors for oral cancer, as much as 25 percent of diagnosed cases have none, and many of these cases involve individuals younger than 40.
Mortality associated with various types of cancer, including colon cancer and cervical cancer, has improved a great deal. Oral cancer, on the other hand, has not improved in terms of survival rates for the past fifty years. The key to survival is early detection, and we believe the earliest possible detection for oral cancer comes from the use of accurate technology. At sherway dentistry in Etobicoke, patients can expect oral cancer screening that goes beyond the traditional manual examination of the head and neck. Dr. Tuli is happy to provide an examination of mucosal tissues using the precision VELscope® device.
VELscope® helps your dentist see mucosal tissues with greater clarity. This is because this device allows viewing of tissue under fluorescence, or blue light. White light, even with magnification, allows the dentist to see surface tissue only. Blue light, on the other hand, has an exciting effect on tissues that cause them to "light up" when healthy. Unhealthy cells, in white light, look no different from healthy cells. Under fluorescence, unhealthy cells in potentially diseased tissue will not light up. Next to healthy, glowing tissue, unhealthy tissue will look very dark and alert the dental team that further testing is needed to identify the primary concern.
Oral cancer screenings can significantly improve the survival rate for identified disease. Once unhealthy tissues can be identified with magnification and physical examination alone, disease has become more invasive and concerning. VELscope® adds only a minute or two to the routine dental examination and gives us early information that can lead to successful treatment.
Sherway dentistry offers a wide range of preventive, restorative, and cosmetic services. VELscope® oral cancer screening is included in your routine check-up at no additional cost.