Many times, an area will look altered either in the mouth, or in the bone on X-ray. A biopsy is a definitive way to ensure the nature of the lesion. A biopsy may either be “excisional,” in which the entire lesion is sent to the pathologist for evaluation, or “incisional,” in which only a portion is sent. Your doctor will let you know about the lesion once the pathologist has reviewed the specimen; a process which usually takes just a couple of weeks. Let us help put your mind to ease. Give San Jose Oral Surgery a call to schedule a consultation.
How does a biopsy work?
A biopsy is a relatively straightforward procedure where your San Jose Oral Surgery provider cuts away a small portion of the suspicious tissue. It is then viewed under a microscope to look for any abnormal cells that could indicate oral cancer or other oral pathology. In some cases, your biopsy will be sent to a lab for a more detailed analysis.
Is a biopsy painful?
No. A biopsy is relatively pain-free. Only a small portion of tissue is needed and is either gently cut away or extracted with a fine needle. You’ll be given a local anesthetic so you won’t feel a thing.
The team at San Jose Oral Surgery understands that having any sort of dental procedure can cause anxiety. The combination of fear, worry, not knowing, and waiting would make anyone feel nervous. The team offers sedation to help calm your nerves during your biopsy if needed.
What happens if my biopsy shows oral pathology?
If oral pathology such as cancer is detected, the team at San Jose Oral Surgery creates a treatment plan. It might involve cutting away the cancerous tissue and involving other specialists like an oncologist or radiologists as a joint effort to get you back to optimal health. Whatever the case, the surgeons at San Jose Oral Surgery will guide you through this journey and be there with you the entire way. They’ll be able to answer all your questions and quell your concerns.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PERFORM A BIOPSY?
You should expect your appointment to last around 10 to 15 minutes. Be sure to arrive at the surgeon’s office a little earlier to fill in any paperwork. The actual procedure to take one sample will take around 10 to 20 seconds. The surgeon may take a few samples during your appointment for analysis.
DOES A BIOPSY MEAN CANCER?
There are many oral pathologies that are diagnosed with the aid of a biopsy. So just because your dentist has asked for you to get a sample taken, does not necessarily mean that you have cancer. It is a good idea to follow up quickly with an appointment because the quicker that it is identified, the quicker that it can be treated.
HOW CAN I CONDUCT A SELF EXAM FOR ORAL CANCER?
Your dentist will check your mouth for any irregularities during your regular checkups. However, it is good to do a self-examination at least once a month. You will only need a mirror and a bright light. Using them check all the surfaces inside your mouth. Inside your lips, your gums, the inside of your cheeks, and the throat. Also, run your hands over your neck and jaw and feel for any lumps or swelling. If you have found anything that doesn’t look or feel normal then call the surgeon’s office at San Jose Oral Surgery for an appointment.
HOW CAN I REDUCE THE RISK OF GETTING ORAL CANCER?
If you reduce the number of risk factors that contribute towards oral cancer you have a better chance of avoiding it. Risk factors include smoking tobacco and other oral tobacco use, heavy use of alcohol, and high exposure to the sun. Be aware though that it is still possible to develop oral cancer even if you avoid these risk factors. One study showed that 25% of those with oral cancer were non-smokers that didn’t drink alcohol.