What Is VELscope and How Does It Work?

What is VELscope®?

It’s estimated that around 54,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in the US annually. While it’s a very serious condition with a higher death rate than many other types of cancer, it can be very treatable when detected early. For this reason, our office uses VELscope, an innovative tool for detecting oral cancer during its early stages. VELscope is an FDA-approved system used to screen for oral cancer and other abnormalities which may not otherwise be visible to the eye.

How does VELscope® work?

VELscope helps dentists detect oral cancer during the course of a regular dental exam by measuring natural tissue fluorescence. There are chemical compounds in oral tissues known as “fluorophores” which, when exposed to one wavelength of light, will emit their own, different wavelength of light. For instance, when excited by exposure to a blue light, the fluorophores may give off a green light.

As the fluorescence of the tissue can reveal information about the difference in the structure or metabolic activity of the cells, the dentist can use this to spot abnormalities that may be indicative of oral cancer.

VELscope has the benefit of being easier to use than past methods which used reflected light instead of fluorescence; these previous methods required the patient to swish around a dye in their mouth in order to be effective, while VELscope can be done during a normal exam in just two minutes.

Early detection is vital to your survival chances when it comes to oral cancer, so this technology helps spot it as soon as possible. We urge everyone to be sure to have regular check-ups and oral cancer screenings with their dentist so that they can stay safe and healthy.