DenMat, LED Dental’s VELscope Vx: Saving Lives by Detecting Oral Cancer Early
While dental clinicians are primarily concerned with the health of the oral cavity, it is widely recognized in the field that because the entire body is connected, oftentimes overall health is directly affected by what occurs in the mouth. As such, a number of products are available on the market that assist clinicians in discovering oral diseases, such as oral cancer, at a much earlier stage than in the past, says Wayne Rees, Canadian Regional Manager of LED Dental, Inc.
“These are products that are having a major impact on dentistry and on the patient’s well being,” Rees exclaims. One such product, he points out, is LED Dental’s VELscope Vx®, distributed exclusively by DenMat. The device enables early detection of oral cancer and other mucosal diseases.
While the VELscope Vx allows a wide variety of oral abnormalities to be discovered, its primary purpose is to detect oral cancer, which, like many other forms of the disease, is more readily treated when detected early. “If found in its early stages, oral cancer is 80% to 90% curable. But when found late, statistics show that patients die about 50% of the time within 5 years,” says Rees. “Since the oral cavity is a relatively easy area to examine compared to other areas of the body, combined with the fact that patients are in the dental office on a regular basis, there should be no reason that clinicians are not detecting this disease in its initial stages.”
What makes the VELscope Vx so effective, Rees explains, is that it uses clinically proven fluorescence technology in conjunction with a white-light examination to “visualize down into the stroma to help discover disease before it is visible to the eye alone.” In addition to discovering cancer and pre-cancer, the VELscope Vx can also help the clinician visualize other conditions such as viral, fungal, bacterial infections, lichenoid reactions, and squamous papillomas. “VELscope Vx provides the clinician with additional visual information to assist in determining what the referral path should be,” says Rees.
DenMat and LED Dental believe the VELscope Vx is an extremely valuable tool to have in the dental office not just because it identifies diseases early while they are easier to treat, but also because testing lets patients know that the clinician cares about their overall health. According to Rees, dental clinicians using the device can more effectively screen for diseases that they may have missed in the past, and they can now be the first line of defense for patients looking to maintain their overall health.
“It’s a great practice builder. Patients go to their general practitioners on an annual basis for screening exams to be sure they are healthy; now they can come to their dentist for the same reason,” says Rees. “The VELscope Vx is a potentially life-saving technology, and since patients visit the dental office regularly, it provides clinicians the opportunity to be an early source of protection against deadly diseases.”
A compact, self-contained unit, the VELscope Vx is easy to incorporate into the dental practice, Rees notes. “It will not disrupt the practice. The screening portion of the exam requires only a couple of minutes, and there are no dyes or rinses. There is even a fee code for the exam,” he says.
To make adoption of the VELscope Vx even easier for the clinician, LED Dental and DenMat have made available a wealth of resources for clinicians interested in incorporating the device into their practice. “With every device, a complete training DVD is provided, and if clinicians wish to educate themselves further, live and/or recorded webinars are available for the practice,” Rees explains.
“Our goal is to save lives using this early screening technology,” Rees states. “The more awareness there is about oral cancer, the better it will be for patients and dentistry in general. Technology like the VELscope Vx more effectively exposes the disease and helps to make dentistry more aware of oral cancer; it brings oral cancer screening further inside the dental clinician’s realm. This represents a win for patients, who now have access to earlier cancer screening, and it’s a win for the clinicians who are saving lives.”
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