Biopsy and Oral Diagnosis

Your general dentist or dental hygienist performs an oral cancer examination at each dental visit. Occasionally an abnormality such as a lesion (an unusual localized change in your tissues) is found that needs to be examined further by an oral surgeon. Lesions may resemble white or red spots or lumps (tumors), but they are typically benign.

When a Biopsy Is Needed

If you have been referred to Woodbury Sedation and Oral Surgery if there is any possibility that the growth could be cancerous or pre-cancerous. It is often better to err on the side of caution and perform a biopsy to be sure. Dr. Pihlstrom will make a small incision and remove a part of the suspicious area. The tissue sample will be sent to a pathologist, who examines it under a microscope for signs of disease.

Depending on how much tissue needs to be removed, this may be a simple in-office procedure, or it may be done in a hospital setting. Typically, the procedure requires only local anesthesia, and it doesn't take long. If incisions are made, they are often closed with self-dissolving sutures (stitches) that don't need to be removed.

Because the oral tissues are rich in blood vessels, some bleeding is normal for a period of time afterward. You will be given follow-up instructions as needed, including how to manage swelling and discomfort, when to take medication, and what to eat and drink. Getting some rest and maintaining good oral hygiene will also help you get back to normal as quickly as possible. When the pathology report is complete (usually in a few days), you will be given the results.

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