Words like oral cancer and oral pathology can cause anxiety. But just hoping that suspicious tissues in your mouth will just go away is downright dangerous. If you find suspicious tissues in your mouth or sores that just don’t seem to heal, schedule an appointment with the experts at Estudillo Oral Surgery for a biopsy right away. The office conveniently serves residents in San Leandro, California, and the surrounding areas. Book your appointment online or over the phone today.
Is a biopsy really necessary?
Tissue that doesn’t look like the rest on your mouth, cheeks, gums, tongue, or throat can be an indicator that something is wrong. Often changes in appearance are the first sign of oral disease or pathology. Be on the lookout for:
- Tissue that is raised or thicker than the surrounding area
- Red or white patches
- Tissue that has a hair appearance on the sides of your tongue
- Sores that don’t heal
- Bumps or lumps
- Unexplained swelling
If you come across any of these symptoms, it’s best to book an appointment at Estudillo Oral Surgery as soon as possible. Biopsies are used to catch dangerous diseases like oral cancer early when it’s most treatable.
How are biopsies performed?
There are a variety of ways oral biopsies are performed depending on the location and type of tissue. Biopsy samples can be obtained from:
- Cutting a small portion of tissue
- Using an electric cardory machine to obtain a sample
- Utilizing a surgical instrument in a scraping motion
Once a sample is obtained it is sent to a pathology lab. Their experts view the cells under microscopes and run other tests to look for abnormal cell growth or other pathogens. Once the results are in, you’ll be asked to return to Estudillo Oral Surgery.
What happens after a biopsy?
If your biopsy reveals nothing suspicious, you have nothing to worry about. Your surgeon may continue to keep a close eye on the area and ask you to maintain your normal oral hygiene routine.
If your biopsy reveals oral pathology, your surgeon will help you plan the next steps. If necessary Estudillo Oral Surgery will team with other specialists like oncologists to make sure you receive the best possible care.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PERFORM A BIOPSY?
To take each sample will only take around 10 to 20 seconds. However, the whole procedure will usually take around 10 to 15 minutes. You should allow even more time for your visit though as you will need to register at the surgery office and here may be a waiting time.
DOES A BIOPSY MEAN CANCER?
Not necessarily. If your dentist orders a biopsy it is because they have identified an irregularity within your mouth. The condition could be due to cancer or another oral disease. Only by doing the biopsy and can the dentist be sure what the problem is.
HOW CAN I CONDUCT A SELF EXAM FOR ORAL CANCER
A self-exam should be conducted at least once a month. Standing in front of a mirror, and using a bright light, check all the surfaces within your mouth. First, look at the appearance of your lips and front gums, feeling for any irregularities. Then tilt your head backward and look at the roof of your mouth. Look at your cheek lining by pulling your cheeks out, checking the back of your gums at the same time. Look below, on top, and the side of your tongue and the floor of your mouth. Look inside your throat and feel around the side of your neck and jaw. Check your lymph glands for any swelling. If you notice any changes or abnormalities then call the office at Estudillo Oral Surgery.
HOW CAN I REDUCE THE RISK OF GETTING ORAL CANCER?
Reducing or eliminating exposure to the many risk factors can contribute to you avoiding oral cancer. The most common risk factors include smoking tobacco or using tobacco-related products, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, and excessive exposure to the sun. Even though you may avoid these factors you should still be on the lookout for oral cancer. 25% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are non-smokers and only drink alcohol occasionally.