Every year over 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer. Biopsies are a critical part of diagnosing oral cancer and other diseases that can have a severe impact on your oral and overall health. Jeffrey Graves, DDS, provides state-of-the-art biopsy procedures at Rotary Way Oral Surgery, in Vallejo, California. If you need a biopsy and are looking for an expert oral surgeon, call or make an appointment online today.
What is a biopsy?
If you have abnormal tissue in your mouth, such as a lump, bump, or a discolored patch, a biopsy is a procedure to take a sample of cells to find out what’s causing the irregularity. Biopsies are quick outpatient procedures that only require a local anesthetic.
At Rotary Way Oral Surgery, Dr. Graves offers excisional and needle procedures. After collecting your biopsy, he sends the sample of cells to a lab where technicians run tests to identify the issue.
Why would I need a biopsy?
Dr. Graves orders biopsies to diagnose the causes of abnormal or potentially cancerous tissue in your mouth. You may need a biopsy to identify the condition causing:
- Sores or ulcers that don’t heal.
- White or red patches on your gums or other soft tissue.
- Swelling in 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?
Biopsies are quick, outpatient procedures. At Rotary Way Oral Surgery, Dr. Graves prepares you for your biopsy by injecting a local anesthetic into your gums to numb the area thoroughly. Then using a small scalpel or hollow needle, he takes a small sample of cells. If necessary, Dr. Graves may close any holes or incisions from your biopsy with a dissolvable stitch.
What happens after a biopsy?
After your biopsy, you can go right back to your regular activities. While your mouth will stay numb for an hour or two following your procedure, you can return to work or school. You can return to your regular diet on the same day, although you should be careful while biting or chewing while your mouth is still numb. You may also want to take extra care when brushing your teeth or flossing around the biopsy site.
The team at Rotary Way 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 Rotary Way Oral Surgery or schedule a consultation online today.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PERFORM A BIOPSY?
The time with the surgeon to take your biopsy samples should take around 10 to 15 minutes. Each sample should take around 10 to 20 seconds for your surgeon to obtain. Your surgeon may take a few samples for analysis. Please allow some extra time around your appointment for the necessary paperwork.
DOES A BIOPSY MEAN CANCER?
If your dentist has referred you for a biopsy you may naturally think that he suspects mouth cancer. However, a biopsy is performed to detect many oral pathologies, not just cancer. If you have been referred to have a biopsy, do not hesitate to book your appointment with Rotary Way Oral Surgery. The faster you have the pathology identified, the faster it can be treated
HOW CAN I CONDUCT A SELF EXAM FOR ORAL CANCER
It’s important to conduct a self-examination for oral cancer every month. Even though your dentist will examine your mouth during your regular check-up, self-examinations may help you detect any danger signs before it progresses. To perform your self-examination you will need a bright light and a mirror. In front of the mirror, shine the light inside your mouth and check the surfaces inside. Examine the inside of your lips by pulling your lips down and up. Open your cheeks and look at the inside surfaces. Check the throat area too. Also, you should check the outside of your face, feeling around the jaw area, throat and lymph glands. You should be on the lookout for any irregularities in color or lumps. If you find anything that you want seen to then call the surgeon’s office at Rotary Way Oral Surgery for an appointment or book online.
HOW CAN I REDUCE THE RISK OF GETTING ORAL CANCER?
You can reduce the risk of getting oral cancer by reducing or cutting out the associated risk factors. These include oral tobacco products including smoking, heavy drinking of alcohol, and high exposure to the sun. While reducing these factors can reduce your chances of getting oral cancer it should also be noted that 25% of those diagnosed with oral cancer were non-smokers who didn’t drink alcohol.