When patients come to SoundBridge Center for Dental Arts for their routine cleaning and exam they will find something more than just “routine”. There is a common understanding that patient’s teeth are cleaned, gums are checked and teeth evaluated for any decay or breakdown. Aside from evaluating the teeth and gums, Dr. Karla Bloomquist also preforms an oral cancer and pathology screening. The traditional way of evaluating for oral cancer or irregular tissue has been to shine the standard over-head dental light into the oral cavity and look around at all of the surrounding tissue, cheeks and tongue as well as palpating intra and extraorally for any abnormalities. This is referred to as a “white light exam”. At SoundBridge Dental Arts we also have incorporated new hand-held technology that uses narrow band imaging. Inquire about our use of the VELscope as part of our oral exam.
The VELscope is a flashlight type of device with a scope attached that shines a blue fluorescent light into the mouth. What we look for is any loss of fluorescence in the oral tissue. Healthy tissue will fluoresce green. Abnormal tissue generally appears as a dark spot with an irregular shape. If loss of fluorescence is seen upon exam with the VELscope, we may ask the patient to return for a follow up exam in a couple of weeks or perform a biopsy of the area in question.
A study done at the University Of Washington School Of Dentistry revealed that the use of the VELscope detected oral tissue changes not seen on a clinical white light exam in 11.1% (69 out of 620) of patients in the study. After a second evaluation, 28 of the 69 patients were scheduled for a biopsy of the area in question or follow up appointments.
The VELscope allows Dr. Karla Bloomquist to discover abnormal tissue before it can be detected by the naked eye. This allows Dr. Bloomquist to follow the steps necessary to properly diagnose, and if needed, get a handle on a lesion that would not have been detected until it was much more aggressive and dangerous to the patient’s health. Here at SoundBridge, we are happy to be adding the VELscope to our oral examination/discovery protocol.