Smiling woman at dentist before an oral cancer screening

Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer screenings are an important part of protecting your oral and overall health. Early detection can mean a better prognosis.

The screening process is easy. Dr. Ann Sielicki at Sonoran Dental Design can complete a screening during your regular checkup.

Our Scottsdale, AZ, practice features the VELscope®, an advanced, FDA-approved screening tool that can catch signs of cancer early.

How Does Oral Cancer Screening Work?

Oral cancer screenings are quick inspections in which your dentist will ask you whether you are experiencing any pain while biting, swallowing, or opening and closing your mouth. They will also check all parts of your oral cavity—your gums, tongue, cheeks, lips, and the roof of your mouth—for abnormalities like:

  • Inflamed tissue
  • Lesions or sores
  • Red or white patches of tissue
  • Lumps or growths

These symptoms can often be hard to detect with the naked eye, so our dentist uses a special screening device called the VELscope to perform much more precise examinations than would be possible otherwise.

man at dental office before oral cancer screening

You don't have to visit your physician or a specialist to screen for oral cancer. These screenings can be easily worked into your regular dental checkups with Dr. Sielicki. Our Scottsdale dentist recommends that you receive a screening at least once a year.

The VELscope® oral cancer screening device

A Closer Look

at the VELscope

The VELscope is an oral screening device that uses blue-spectrum fluorescent light to detect abnormalities within the oral cavity. 

The blue light highlights the oral cavity differently than normal dental illumination tools because it can penetrate below the surface of the oral tissue. Normal tissue appears green under VELscope light, but tissue that may contain cancer or other abnormalities appears significantly darker.

When dark spots appear, it does not always indicate the presence of cancer. The light can also detect areas of trauma, infection, pre-cancerous cells, and HPV.  

Who Is at Risk for Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer can affect anyone, but your risk may be greater if you:

Use Tobacco

Smoking and chewing tobacco are linked with many types of cancer, including oral cancer.

Drink Frequently

Excessive alcohol consumption can irritate the inside of your mouth and leave it more prone to the development of cancer.

Have an HPV Diagnosis

Certain types of HPV can increase your risk of developing throat cancer and oral cancer.

Are Older Than 45

Oral cancer is most often found in those over 45 years of age.

Have a History of Sun Exposure

Exposure to UV light without protection is linked to skin and lip cancer, which can spread into the oral cavity.

Have a Family History of Oral Cancer

If your parents or siblings were diagnosed with oral cancer, there is a greater chance that you will develop it as well.

Are Oral Cancer Screenings  Covered by Insurance?


Yes! These screenings for cancer are considered medically necessary, so they're covered by insurance. Our Scottsdale, AZ, practice accepts most types of dental insurance, and we'll submit a claim to your provider on your behalf.

"5 stars all the way." Why Scottsdale Trusts Us With Their Care


Pat Rall

Scottsdale, AZ


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I have gone to this practice for over 20 years. It is 5 star all the way. Dentist and staff are patient, professional and caring. Immaculate office too.

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Sami Kivinen

Scottsdale, AZ


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Thank you Sonoran Dental Design!!!! Again Dr. Sielicki and her Staff gave me the new opportunity to live life happier, better and the fullest. Professionalism on its greatest. Million Thanks.

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Dr. Ann Sielicki

Sonoran Dental Design

Sonoran Dental Design is a high-tech dental practice in Scottsdale, AZ, that prioritizes patient care and comfort. Dr. Ann Sielicki is a dentist who is highly trained and committed to continued education. Dr. Sielicki is affiliated with:

  • The American Dental Association
  • The Arizona Dental Association
  • The Central Arizona Dental Association
  • Spear Education's Advanced Continuum (Visiting Faculty Club Member)
  • Seattle Study Club (Participating Member)

We invite you to request an appointment with our practice by filling out our online form or calling (480) 419-9595.

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