Biopsies sound scary, but they are actually used as a life saving diagnostic tool. A biopsy can rule out serious conditions like oral cancer or detect oral pathology early while it’s most treatable. The dedicated team at Vallejo Oral Surgery located in Vallejo, California, offers diagnostic biopsies right from their office. Call or schedule your appointment online today.
What is a biopsy used to detect?
Biopsies are used to detect oral pathologies affecting the mouth, cheeks, gums, tongue, and throat. Cancer is an obvious disease that biopsies are used to detect, but there are other pathologies as well. Some of these include:
- Noncancerous growths and lesions
- Precancerous cells
- Systemic amyloidosis, or abnormal proteins
- Blood clotting disorders
If you notice anything suspicious in your mouth don’t hesitate to call Vallejo Oral Surgery to schedule an appointment. Your surgeon can examine your mouth and tell you if you need a biopsy.
What happens during a biopsy?
A biopsy is a simple outpatient procedure performed at the Vallejo Oral Surgery office. A sample of tissue is taken and viewed under a microscope to look for abnormal cells. The tissue sample can be sourced from a variety of methods including:
- Cutting away a small sample
- Using a small needle
- Using a brush to scrape away a sample
No matter the method, most biopsies are noninvasive and require no downtime or recovery period.
Often your biopsy sample is sent to a pathology laboratory. There, trained professionals can perform additional tests in order to get you a quick and correct diagnosis.
Why might I need a biopsy?
If you notice anything out of the ordinary in your mouth, on your tongue, cheeks, throat, or gums it’s worth being checked out by the team at Vallejo Oral Surgery. A surgeon will examine your areas of concern and let you know if a biopsy is necessary. Be on the lookout for:
- Red or white patches
- Hairy looking patches on the sides of the tongue
- Sore lasting longer than two weeks
- Lumps or bumps
- Unusual swelling
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PERFORM A BIOPSY?
Taking a biopsy takes a relatively short time, with each sample taking around 10 to 20 seconds. However the whole procedure will take about 10 to 15 minutes to complete. If you have an appointment at the surgery office then please allow a little more time as you may require to fill in some forms before the biopsy and there may always be some unexpected waiting time.
DOES A BIOPSY MEAN CANCER?
It can be worrying if your dentist has requested you go for a biopsy but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have cancer. Your dentist will usually recommend that you have a biopsy if there is an unusual growth in your mouth. However, there are many other oral diseases or problems that could cause the irregularity. The purpose of the biopsy is to identify exactly what is causing the growth.
HOW CAN I CONDUCT A SELF EXAM FOR ORAL CANCER
The best way to beat cancer is to get in front of it before the problem gets to big. Conducting a self examination once a month will help you to identify it early. Taking a bright light, stand in front of a mirror so that you can see clearly inside your mouth. Check your front lips and gums, looking and feeling for any irregularities. Look up at the roof of your mouth and the inside of your cheeks. Check the throat area too. It’s also important to check the neck, particularly where your lymph glands are for any swelling. If you notice any patches of abnormal skin or any other difference then call the office at Vallejo Oral Surgery.
HOW CAN I REDUCE THE RISK OF GETTING ORAL CANCER?
Like most cancers, you can reduce the chance of a growth by reducing the risk factors. Oral cancer is particularly high among those who smoke or use other tobacco products in the mouth. Those who drink excessive amounts of alcohol and expose themselves to a lot of sun are also at high risk of oral cancers. It should be noted though that 25% of those who are diagnosed with oral cancer are not exposed to these risk factors. This highlights the importance of regular check ups.