Frequently Asked Questions

What is the OralCDx BrushTest?

The BrushTest is a diagnostic tool that can identify pre-cancer, which is indicated by red, white or mixed spots in the mouth. The vast majority of these spots are innocuous, but 4% of them require further follow-up. If identified at this stage, oral cancer can be prevented. In the United States, more than 48,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer annually. The disease claims the lives of nearly 10,000 a year. That’s why you should make the BrushTest an integral part of your oral cancer screening protocol.

How common are suspicious red, white or mixed spots?

They occur in about 10% of patients. If you see a suspicious spot, collect cell samples from it using the Oral CDx BrushTest. Then send the collected samples to the CDx laboratory for analysis.

Of the spots you test, how many are pre-cancerous?

We find abnormal cells in about 4% of cases. Many of these are dysplasia, which indicates pre-cancer.

If positive tests are so rare, why perform the test?

Because oral cancer isn’t rare. More than 48,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. By screening every patient, you can prevent oral cancer… and save lives. Since 1999, the BrushTest has detected more than 40,000 pre-cancerous spots. If a spot appears suspicious––which happens about 10% of the time–– then our recommendation is to test that spot… just to be sure that it’s not pre-cancer.

If the BrushTest detects pre-cancer, what are the next steps?

Once your office receives the results, the dentist will review the findings with the patient and then refer the patient to an oral surgeon. The surgeon will either perform a biopsy or surgically remove the precancerous spot. Most procedures are performed in-office with a local anesthesia.

Some practices use a light to screen for oral cancer. How is the BrushTest different?

The light is a visual aid, but it isn’t needed for performing an oral cancer screening. Even when a light is used, a dentist can’t tell which spots are healthy and which contain abnormal cells. Only a laboratory analysis performed by a pathologist can do that. That’s why every BrushTest includes a laboratory analysis.

Is the BrushTest accurate?

Yes. The BrushTest has been shown to be at least as sensitive as a scalpel biopsy in ruling out oral pre-cancer and cancer. Its accuracy has been demonstrated in large published studies, including a major clinical trial conducted at 35 US dental schools.
Dentists using the BrushTest have detected more than 40,000 pre-cancers since 1999.

Does the BrushTest hurt?

Most patients say that it feels like a stiff toothbrush being rubbed on the spot. Different areas of the mouth will feel different. You can use a topical anesthetic to ease any potential discomfort.

Is the BrushTest covered by dental insurance?

There are two separate charges related to this test. The first is for the collection of cell samples from the suspicious spot. We will submit this charge to your patient’s dental insurer. How much is covered depends on the type of dental insurance the patient has. The second charge is a laboratory fee for an analysis of the cell samples. The laboratory (CDx Diagnostics) will bill your patient’s medical insurer, including Medicare or Tricare. Normal co-pays apply.