Oral Cancer and ViziLite® Plus

Grove City Dentist Serving Columbus, Dublin, Hilliard, Ohio

Oral cancer kills one American every hour, and yet we don’t hear about it nearly as much as other types of cancer. The National Cancer Institute estimates that in 2010, over 36,500 people in the United States were diagnosed with oral cancer, and 7,880 of these cases resulted in death.

The good news is that if oral cancer is detected early, it is one of the most treatable diseases of its kind. Patients who are diagnosed with oral cancer in its beginning stages have an 80%–90% survival rate. Detected too late, however, the survival rate goes down to 20%.

Oral cancer screening should be a regular part of dental appointments in order to catch oral cancer in its early, treatable stages. Columbus General Dentist, Dr. Sheridan uses ViziLite® Plus, the latest and most effective technology developed for oral cancer screening, in order to detect and carefully monitor any abnormalities in the mouth.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

Oral cancer usually affects the tissue of the lips or tongue, but it can also occur on the:

  • Floor of the mouth
  • Cheek lining
  • Gums
  • Roof of the mouth (palate)

Smoking and tobacco use is linked to almost 80% of oral cancer cases. Heavy use of alcohol has also been associated with an increased risk for oral cancer, along with poor oral hygiene, chronic irritation (e.g. from fillings and dentures), and viral infections. However, oral cancer can still develop in patients with no lifestyle risks at all.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

While oral cancer is often difficult to detect until proper screening methods are applied, patients may notice the following symptoms:

  • Sores, lumps or ulcers in the mouth
  • Abnormal taste in the mouth
  • Difficulty and pain when swallowing
  • Chewing problems
  • Tongue and speech problems

Many times, a cancerous sore or lump in the mouth will start out completely painless. A burning sensation sometimes occurs when the tumor is advanced, but not always. This is why it is so important to integrate annual oral cancer screenings into your dental care.

ViziLite® Plus Technology

ViziLite® Plus is a painless, non-invasive technology that allows Dr. Sheridan to see what the naked eye cannot – helping him identify, mark, and evaluate potentially cancerous lesions before they can progress into something more serious and advanced.

The ViziLite® screening process is simple, requiring you to rinse your mouth with a special solution while Dr. Sheridan uses a low-energy light to look for cancerous cells. A safe dye will be used to mark any suspicious areas, then pictures will be taken to document any problem areas for your medical doctor and insurance company.

This simple screening has saved countless lives. If you have further questions about oral cancer, or are interested in scheduling an oral cancer screening, please contact the experienced dental team at Sheridan Dental in Grove City today.

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