Oral Cancer Screening (VELscope®) in Chandler, AZ

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What is an oral cancer screening?

Many people believe that if they abstain from tobacco and alcohol use or do not have a family history of the disease, oral cancer will not affect them. However, 25% of those diagnosed abstain from both substances. The very best way to protect yourself from oral cancer is to maintain regular dental examinations with Dr. Troy Gombert in Chandler, AZ, who will examine your mouth to check for signs or symptoms of oral cancer. Using the advanced, FDA-approved technology known as VELscope, Dr. Gombert can detect oral cancer in its earliest stages.

How does the VELscope work?

VELscope uses fluorescence visualization (FV), which is a bright blue light that is shone into the mouth to expose changes and cancerous lesions that are otherwise invisible. Prior to the discovery of this innovative procedure, oral cancer was often missed as it looks very similar to other common, non-threatening lesions and dental conditions. VELscope allows Dr. Gombert to see what is happening beneath the surface of your mouth so that he can make an efficient, early diagnosis.

Am I a candidate for an ORAL CANCER SCREENING?

Oral cancer can affect anyone. As such, each patient that visits our dental practice is an ideal candidate for VELscope screening. While brushing and flossing your teeth each day, you should also visually inspect your teeth, gums, and mouth for any signs or symptoms of cancer. Those who are considered high-risk (tobacco consumers, those who consume large amounts of alcohol daily, and individuals with a history of cancer) should be ever-diligent about scheduling and attending annual dental examinations to aid in the early detection of oral cancer.

How is an ORAL CANCER SCREENING performed?

VELscope oral-cancer examinations take only two or three minutes to perform. The procedure is not painful or invasive and it can help save lives. The procedure will be performed in conjunction with your annual dental examination and will include a visual inspection of your glands, tongue, cheek, and palate, as well as your teeth. You will be given special eyewear to wear (to protect your retinas) and the lights will be dimmed to allow a clear view of your mouth. Any lesions or cancerous cells will be illuminated with the blue light emitted by the handpiece. Dr. Gombert may perform a biopsy if he discovers any areas of concern.

What to expect after an ORAL CANCER SCREENING

The results of the biopsy dictate the best course of action from there. If a biopsy is taken and it tests positive for oral cancer, you may be referred to a specialist to begin treatment for cancer. If you do not have any signs or symptoms of cancer during your examination, or a biopsy is taken but is clear of cancer cells, the only follow-up necessary is to maintain a healthy oral health regimen and to keep regularly scheduled dental examinations and cleanings.

Does insurance cover ORAL CANCER SCREENINGs?

Insurance companies typically cover a dental examination once yearly. It is during this examination that your oral cancer screening will be performed. As such, the screening is usually covered by dental insurance. Our support staff will contact your provider to determine your coverage and calculate your out-of-pocket-cost. This information will be discussed with you prior to your screening.

Oral Cancer Screening FAQ

How often should I get screened for oral cancer?
It is recommended to have an oral cancer screening annually during your regular dental check-up. Consistent yearly screenings allow for the early detection of any potential abnormalities. This regular monitoring is particularly important because oral cancer can develop without obvious symptoms, making early detection crucial for effective treatment. Additionally, individuals at higher risk, such as those who use tobacco or consume alcohol frequently, might benefit from more frequent screenings.

How effective is VELscope in detecting oral cancer?
The VELscope system is highly effective in detecting oral cancer. It uses a special light to identify abnormalities in the mouth that are not visible to the naked eye. This technology enhances the dentist's ability to detect early signs of cancer, which can significantly improve treatment outcomes. By highlighting areas of concern, VELscope allows for more accurate and timely biopsies if needed.

Are there any side effects or risks associated with VELscope screening?
VELscope screening is noninvasive and does not involve harmful radiation, making it safe with no known side effects. The process involves shining a blue light into the mouth to detect abnormalities. Patients may be asked to wear special glasses to protect their eyes from the light. The procedure is quick and virtually painless and can be performed during a routine dental check-up.

How can I reduce my risk of developing oral cancer?
To reduce your risk of developing oral cancer, avoid tobacco products and limit alcohol consumption. Maintaining good oral hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing, is essential. Protect your lips from sun exposure by using lip balm with SPF. Additionally, a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables can boost your immune system. Regular dental check-ups for early detection and HPV vaccination are also beneficial preventive measures.

How is a biopsy performed if an abnormality is found during screening?
If an abnormality is detected during the screening, our dental practitioners may perform a biopsy to determine if it is cancerous. The procedure involves removing a small sample of tissue from the suspicious area. This sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis. The biopsy is typically done under local anesthesia and is a quick and minimally invasive procedure. The results will guide further treatment if necessary.

Proactive Dental Care

Being proactive with your dental health is the best way to keep your smile bright, white, and healthy. Dr. Gombert is passionate about helping you remain proactive with your health. If it is time to schedule your annual dental examination with an oral cancer screening, contact our Chandler, AZ dental practice today. Our skilled staff looks forward to visiting with you.

* All information subject to change. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.