Undergoing regular dental checkups is essential for your oral health as your dentist could check and discover underlying conditions or symptoms. While dentists schedule check-up appointments every day, most patients visiting the dentist for oral check-ups may not consider oral cancer screening.

Oral cancer screening helps your dentist identify oral cancerous cells that may later pose health complications. Moreover, when your dentist detects abnormal oral cells early enough, you will receive simplified treatment compared to when the condition is in its later stages. Your dentist will use the Vizilite® Plus kit for screening and producing results.

Since the oral scan using Vizilite® Plus is a crucial screening system to determine whether you have severe oral cancer symptoms, you want to visit an experienced dentist. Doing so will build up your confidence, allowing you to relax during the procedure. Working with an experienced dentist also gives you an excellent chance to ask questions that may concern you, to provide you with peace of mind as you schedule the oral screening.

Encino Dentist has served numerous patients in Encino, California, helping them receive accurate results from their oral scans using Vizilite® Plus. Thanks to our skilled and compassionate staff, you can count on us to deliver excellent dental healthcare services that put your needs first. 

What is Vizilite® Plus

Usually, undergoing cancer screening involves advanced technological equipment that is not always available in many healthcare facilities. Additionally, the equipment used in screening for cancer in other parts of the body would not be useful in checking for oral cancer.

Thus, Zila Pharmaceuticals created a test kit, Vizilite® Plus, to perform quick and painless oral screening. The test kit includes different elements that work together during the oral examination.

When your dentist uses Vizilite® Plus to perform the oral check, you will notice several useful items, including a rinsing solution, a light source, and protective goggles. All the things come from the Vizilite® Plus kit and help deliver the results.

Once you schedule a check-up with your dentist, you may also include other oral checks for cavities, teeth alignment, or gingivitis. While the physical oral examination is sufficient to pick out all the mentioned conditions, your dentist would have difficulty detecting precancerous lesions, as most of them lie in the oral tissue.

Thus, the only way to receive reliable information on possible underlying symptoms will be by using the Vizilite® Plus screening system.

How the Vizilite® Plus Screening Works

When undergoing oral cancer screening using Vizilite® Plus, the dentist performs a simple check for approximately 20 minutes. We understand the nervousness and fear you could have before undergoing screening. However, you do not have to worry about the procedure, as the healthcare team in your dental clinic has received training to deliver reliable services, including calming you down before the examination begins.

Since the procedure is quick and painless, you do not have to take any anesthesia or sedatives. Firstly, your dentist will provide a unique rinsing solution that you will swirl a few times in your mouth. The solution is specially designed to reveal any abnormal cells in your mouth by highlighting them in a different shade of color.

After swirling the solution, the dentist will then use a specific light source to illuminate your mouth for the check. The light source sheds chemiluminescent light at a low-intensity level that is just enough to highlight your mouth tissues in different shades. Thanks to light technology, the light can display abnormal cells in the throat, tongue, and mouth tissues.

The particular solution you swirl displays normal mouth cells in a dark color, as the cells absorb the light from the source. Conversely, any abnormal cells do not absorb the light and therefore appear whitish.

Once your dentist identifies the abnormal parts in your mouth, throat, or tongue, he/she will use TBlue Dye to mark the abnormal cells and record the findings for future reference.  After completing the oral screening, the dentist will report findings and schedule another appointment where you will discuss the results and pave the way forward.

Finding abnormal cells does not always point to early cancer detection, as the Vizilite® Plus screening kit can detect ruptured cells from accidents. Therefore, you do not have to worry about the findings reported in the initial screening.

Nevertheless, it is essential to note that the test can bring out early precancerous cell formation cases and advanced cases. Therefore, the dentist may report findings of abnormalities even when you have not detected them. The early results are advantageous, as you will begin treatment as soon as possible to prevent complications.

Reading Your Test Results

Upon concluding the Vizilite® Plus test, your dentist should prepare an official result report that indicates whether you tested positive or negative for abnormalities.

When you test positive, it means that abnormal cells or tissues were present in your mouth, tongue, or throat. The abnormal cells should also directly link to oral cancer to rule out the alternative findings in bruises or inflammation in the mouth.

On the other hand, testing negative means that no abnormalities were detected, meaning that you are not at risk of suffering from oral cancer.

That said, we recommend going for check-ups frequently, as the symptoms may arise at a later stage. Also, regular screening asserts your confidence in good health, as you will receive certified information reporting your freedom from cancerous cells.

Signs of Oral Cancer

While most screenings occur as part of your regular oral check-ups, some patients may already have underlying symptoms suspected to be cancerous. In this case, your dentist may schedule a pre-screening session, where he/she will inquire for more information about your symptoms.

Common signs of oral cancer include:

Patches in Your Mouth

Firstly, you may notice several patches in your mouth that may be white or red. The patches, also known as lesions, may occur irregularly in different parts of the mouth, including your inner cheeks and tongue.

For some people, the lesions are painless, meaning that they may occur without detection. However, since the patches affect your inner mouth tissues’ healthy nature, you are likely to experience constant irritation or pain that lasts for long.

Moreover, the patches may rapture, leading to open wounds that can easily cause infections from exposure to disease-causing bacteria.

Therefore, bad breath may also become a symptom of the lesions, mainly because of the ruptured patches’ bacteria. In adverse cases, the infections could lead to other complications that require antibiotics to repress the bacteria.

In most cases, a patient may visit the dentist to receive treatment for the effects of lesions without considering the possibility of oral cancer symptoms. Thus, it is during your pre-treatment consultation that your dentist may suggest a Vizilite® Plus screening.

Lumps in Your Mouth

Additionally, early cancer symptoms may occur in the form of lumps. Like oral lesions, most patients experience lumps in different parts of the mouth, including the lips and tongue. Adverse cases may include having lesions in your throat and neck as well.

Usually, the lumps arise from the pre-existing cancerous cells that keep growing in the different areas of your mouth. Sometimes, a patient may mistake the lumps for inflammation and use anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the condition.

Nevertheless, the medication will not be effective without a proper diagnosis because you will be unaware of the causative factors. Also, the longer a patient goes without oral cancer screening, the worse the condition may get.

Hence, early detection of the lumps is crucial in preventing advanced cancer stages, including invasive treatment. We recommend seeing your dentist as soon as you notice unusual lumps in your mouth or around your neck and throat to undertake the Vizilite® Plus screening test.

Challenges in Swallowing and Chewing

Also, you could be prone to facing difficulties when swallowing or chewing your food and drinks. Mostly, the challenges arise from the lesions that may rapture or cause other complications leading to painful sores in your mouth.

Since most oral patches occur in the inner cheeks close to your molars, chewing may therefore become complicated, as the food comes in contact with the open oral patches.

Similarly, swallowing may also become daunting, especially if you have lumps and lesions in your throat as well. Some patients report feeling extreme pain when swallowing anything, including saliva.

 If you experience the symptom, we recommend visiting your dentist to provide viable alternatives to diagnose and treat the condition. Among the diagnostic tests applied will be the Vizilite® Plus screening system.

Having Dentures Fit More Loosely

If you wear dentures, you may also notice that they fit more loosely than when you first started wearing them. Sometimes, the change may be slight but noticeable, meaning that the suspected condition is still manageable.

Different factors may play a role in causing your mouth cavity to appear shrunken. When cancer begins to affect your oral cavity, some of the cells could lead to tissue waste because of the accumulating cancerous cells that spread to the healthy tissue.

Consequently, your dentures may fit loosely, leading to more noticeable symptoms of detectable oral cancer symptoms. If you experience a sudden change in your mouth that leads to the effect, you want to contact your dentist as soon as possible to run proper checks for you. 

Experiencing Persistent Sore throats

Further, patients with possible oral cancer symptoms may experience sore throats for extended periods. As mentioned, precancerous cells and lesions may occur in different parts of the oral cavity, including in the throat.

Subsequently, the developing condition can lead to irritation and pain that resembles sore throat symptoms for the affected patient. Mostly, you will also find it difficult to swallow, as the symptoms occur concurrently.

The distinction between regular sore throats caused by the flu and the pre-cancerous symptom is that the sore throat does not recede despite using cleaning solutions and medication designed to kill the disease-causing microbes linked to sore throats.

On top of this, you may also have a lingering feeling of something in your throat even when you have not eaten solid foods. Often, the condition may indicate cancerous cells’ growth in the throat, creating the feeling of something stuck.

While a general practitioner may help diagnose underlying conditions, visiting your dentist for a Vizilite® Plus oral screening session will help assert the suspected disease. Afterward, your dentist can then create an elaborate treatment plan that aims at eradicating all cancerous cells.

Contact a Dental Clinic Near Me

Apart from scheduling regular oral checkups for dental conditions like cavities and gingivitis, undergoing an oral cancer screening test is necessary to identify abnormal and cancerous cells. An advantage of early detection of underlying cancerous conditions is that you receive a non-invasive treatment, compared to patients with advanced cases. Therefore, a Vizilite® Plus test is advisable for all patients to detect abnormalities in their mouths and throats.

Before undergoing the test, you should find a professional dentist who understands the necessity of delivering accurate results to their patients. At Encino Dentist, we dedicate ourselves to providing the best dental services to our patients in Encino, California. With our many years of experience using Vizilite® Plus to perform oral cancer screenings, you can count on us for accurate and reliable tests. If you or your loved one would like to undertake the screening, call us today at 818-650-0429.