Words From Our Hygienists: Oral Cancer Screening

dental-hygienistThere are many adjunctive diagnostic devices a clinician can use to help detect signs of oral cancer. Some of these devices include the VELscope Vantage, the ViziLite Plus with TBlue and the Orascoptic DK. Dental hygienists should learn how each adjunctive diagnostic device works and how the tests are performed. These intraoral devices are designed to help clinicians’ spot lesions they may not detect with their naked eye. Detecting these lesions may lead to an earlier diagnosis of intraoral cancer. These devices seem great, but they could potentially have negative effects on treatment as well.

First, VELscope Vantage oral is a cancer screening system. This system assists dental professionals in the discovery of oral abnormalities such as trauma or disease. It’s a quick two minute system that works by using a blue-spectrum light that causes the soft tissues of the mouth to naturally fluoresce. Healthy tissues have a green fluorescence pattern verses abnormal tissues typically appears as an irregular dark area. This may helps clinicians see potential problems they wouldn’t have caught with the unassisted eye.

Next, ViziLite Plus with TBlue uses a chemiluminescent light source is another adjunct used to assist that can be used to help clinicians’ spot oral abnormalities. This device uses a blue phenothiazine dye, known as TBlue, which marks any lesions the light source finds. Any intraoral lesions have a deep blue stain that is clearly visible in normal lighting. To perform ViziLite Plus the patient uses the Pre-Rinse solution (1% acetic acid) for 30-60 seconds. Then bend the outer light stick, breaking brittle inner vial and vigorously shake. Then insert light stick into open end of retractor and assemble. Dim the lights in the room as much as possible. Then re-examine the oral cavity using ViziLite device with the retractor window facing the tissue being examined. Stay tuned for the second part of this blog on oral cancer screening! For more information contact Cedar Cliff Dental Center at (651) 454-9028!