If you have a strange lump, lesion, or other abnormality on your gums or other soft tissue in your mouth, you may need a biopsy to identify its cause. At Pinole Oral Surgery, in Pinole, California, the oral surgeons offer expert biopsy procedures to diagnose conditions ranging from benign infections to oral cancer. Call or schedule an appointment online today.
What is a biopsy?
A biopsy is a minor, outpatient procedure in which your oral surgeon takes a small sample of cells for testing. At Pinole Oral Surgery, the expert surgeons provide oral biopsies, including excisional and needle procedures.
They send the samples to a medical lab where technicians test them to identify the issue causing the abnormality.
Why would I need a biopsy?
Biopsies help your oral surgeon identify the causes of abnormal or potentially cancerous tissue in your mouth. You may need a biopsy to diagnose:
- A sore that doesn’t heal
- White or red patches on your gums or other soft tissue
- Other changes in your gums that cause loose teeth
Oral biopsies identify a range of conditions including oral cancer, systemic amyloidosis, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, or other benign mouth lesions or infections.
What happens during a biopsy?
Your surgeon prepares you for your biopsy by injecting a local anesthetic to numb the area thoroughly. Then using a small scalpel or hollow needle, they take a small sample of cells. The biopsy may leave a small hole in your mouth, which your surgeon can close with a dissolvable stitch. The whole procedure is quick and relatively painless because of the local anesthetic.
What happens after a biopsy?
You can go home or even return to work or school after your biopsy appointment. Your mouth will stay numb for an hour or more, so you need to be careful not to bite or chew on the side of your mouth where the cells were taken. You can return to your regular diet on the same day, although you may want to take extra care when brushing or flossing around the biopsy site.
Your surgeon sends your biopsy to a lab for further testing. The staff at Pinole Oral Surgery will call you with your results and schedule any necessary follow-up appointments for additional treatment.
If you have abnormal tissue in your mouth, call Pinole Oral Surgery or schedule a consultation online today.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PERFORM A BIOPSY?
Each biopsy sample will take around 10 to 20 seconds to perform. Your surgeon may want to take a few samples during your visit and therefore the total time of your appointment may take approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
DOES A BIOPSY MEAN CANCER?
A biopsy is a common procedure used to identify a variety of different oral pathologies. While there may be a level of anxiety if your dentist has referred you to have a biopsy, it does not always mean that you have cancer. It is a good idea to put any anxiety aside and book your appointment as soon as possible. That way the pathology can be determined and treatment can begin.
HOW CAN I CONDUCT A SELF EXAM FOR ORAL CANCER
You can do a lot to protect your oral health by conducting a self-exam for oral cancer at least once a month. Along with the help of regular dental checkups, you will be able to be one step ahead. Take a bright light and shine it in your mouth. Look for any irregularities with the help of a mirror. You need to look at the inside of your lips, your cheeks, and throat. You should also feel the side of your neck, jaw, and lymph glands for any lumps or bumps. If you notice anything different then don’t hesitate to book an appointment with Pinole Oral Surgery.
HOW CAN I REDUCE THE RISK OF GETTING ORAL CANCER?
There are a number of risk factors that you can avoid which will help you prevent the development of oral cancer. The main risk factors include smoking and other oral tobacco products, heavy alcohol use, and a lot of exposure to the sun. It is important to be aware that there is still a risk even if you avoid these things and regular checks are vital in tackling cancer.