Tools of the trade: Oral ID

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oral cancer screening device

by Dr Melissa Giddings, Striking Smile Dentistry, Rose Bay, NSW

The Oral ID uses fluorescent technology to identify suspicious lesions in the mouth. Basically, it’s an oral cancer screening device that shows what’s happening underneath the mucosa.

What’s good about it

The handheld unit is used to illuminate the lips, gums, tongue and the mucosa. Healthy mucosa shows up with a green tinge but if there’s anything suspicious, it shows as dark black. So far, I’ve sent four patients to see a specialist. They all needed surgery to have cancerous cells removed.

The unit looks and operates like a torch and I visually check to see if there are any anomalies. The operator needs to wear the tinted glasses that comes with the unit. It also comes with a small attachment that can be fitted to a mobile phone so you can take a picture of what you have seen.

We use it with all our active maintenance patients. If we find something abnormal, we gently tell the patient they need to visit a specialist and have it checked out properly. It’s important not to alarm the patient but ensure they see the specialist.

The unit runs on rechargeable batteries so there’s no real cost to operating it. I like to use plastic sleeves for protection but it can be sterilised with a wipe-down.

What’s not so good

It’s semi-expensive to purchase and can take some time to recoup the cost. However, most patients see value in it and many health funds contribute to the treatment. We use it so frequently that we need to swap out the batteries every now and then. It’s a good idea to keep an extra set of batteries on the charger

Where did you get it

Amalgadent

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