Oral Cancer Screening Chapel Hill NC


Hi, my name is Dr. Corey Wilson, here at Meadowmont Dentistry. I wanted to talk to you today for just a moment about something that I feel like is probably the most important thing that we do here at Meadowmont. And believe it or not, it has nothing to do with teeth, or gums, or electric toothbrushes, or dental floss, or veneers and crowns or anything like that at all. So, what is this most important thing that I’m talking about? Oral cancer screenings. Now, just a moment ago, you saw me doing a quick exam on Miss Emily. The exam takes about two minutes or so, very quick and easy. This is our one chance that we really get to not just save a tooth, but potentially save a life.

So let’s look at some interesting statistics for a moment. Believe it or not, every hour of every day in this country someone dies of oral cancer. As you can imagine, early detection, as with any cancer, is certainly critical when it comes to oral cancers. If found early, oral cancers tend to be quite easy to treat and cure. However, if discovered late, oral cancers can be comparatively quite aggressive as compared to other cancers, and sometimes can quickly get out of control and not be able to be fixed or cured. You’re probably wondering, how do we detect oral cancer? This is where VELscope comes in. That’s the technology that you saw me using it at the beginning of the video.

When we use the VELscope, the light from the VELscope interacts in certain ways with normal tissue and interacts a little bit differently with abnormal tissues. Let’s look at a couple images to really make this clear. So if you look at image number one, you can see that the blue excitation light from the VELscope with the normal tissue is giving off a nice apple green glow. Whereas with the abnormal tissue, those tissues absorb almost all of the light and reflect back almost nothing at all. So in this image, they actually look dark or black.

Now, let’s move on to image number two. The top image is obviously the roof of the mouth, and is an unaided, unassisted view, not with the VELscope. The lower view, however, is what that area was it like under the VELscope. In the top image, there’s really not much to see there. It looks like a pretty normal palette to me. However, one quick glance with the VELscope, and that circled area really pops in stark contrast to the surrounding natural normal tissues.

The American Cancer Society and American Dental Association have come together and decided that they recommend that the average adult have one VELscope screening per year. Believe it or not, most insurance companies are picking up a large portion of the procedure. And even for patients who don’t have any insurance at all, the price of VELscope is only about the cost of a tank of gas. With the power of VELscope and just two to three minutes, we can save a life. The next one could be yours.