At Dr. Xixi Wu, we go above and beyond to ensure our patients maintain pristine oral health, especially in regards to periodontal tissues. During your routine appointment, we may perform an oral cancer screening and comprehensive exam to check the status of your hard and soft tissues. If we notice abnormalities we may recommend a biopsy.
What Is a Biopsy?
A biopsy is a minor procedure in which Dr. Wu removes a small sample of tissue for laboratory testing under a microscope. This tissue is typically harvested from an abnormal-looking area. The most common areas for a dental biopsy include the gums, the inner cheeks, and the tongue.
As periodontists, we specialize in gum biopsies. During the biopsy, we remove a small amount of gingival tissue from the areas that surround and support your teeth. Gingival abnormalities can be caused by oral cancer, noncancerous growths, and noncancerous lesions.
Types of Biopsies
There are four major types of biopsies:
|Incisional biopsy: During this procedure, a small piece of tissue is cut away from the abnormal area using a scalpel or other specialized tool. If the abnormality is deep inside the tissue, this type of biopsy may require minor oral surgery.
|Excisional biopsy: During this procedure, the entire growth or lesion is cut away from the rest of the tissue. This is usually performed on abnormalities that are easy to access.
|Brush biopsy: During this procedure, we gather tissue by forcefully rubbing a brush against the abnormality. The brush scrapes off a small sample of cells through exfoliation. This procedure is usually reserved for issues that do not require an immediate, more invasive biopsy.
|Percutaneous biopsy: During this procedure, we use a fine biopsy needle or core biopsy needle to carefully remove tissue through the skin. This is particularly useful when we need a more extensive tissue sample.
Why Do We Perform Biopsies?
Simply put, we perform biopsies to determine the root cause of a symptom or abnormality. A biopsy is a crucial part of diagnosing oral cancer. A biopsy is usually the next step if we discover any abnormalities during your oral cancer screening.
Suspicious tissues that may require a biopsy include:
|Sores or lesions that persist longer than two weeks
|White or red patches of discoloration
|Swelling or bumps that persist longer than two weeks
|Tissues that cause a change in the way your teeth fit together
|Stiff tissues that are usually mobile
After Your Biopsy
Most biopsies are considered minimally-invasive, but we still use a local anesthetic to numb the area during your procedure. Once the procedure is complete and the anesthetic wears off, there will be relatively little pain, swelling, bruising, bleeding, or discomfort.
If you do experience some minor symptoms, we may recommend over-the-counter pain medications like Advil or Tylenol. Most of these symptoms should subside within a day or two. Dr. Wu may also give you a set of post-operative instructions to help reduce your risk of developing complications.
Schedule Your Appointment
If you have noticed any recent abnormalities in or around your mouth, you may need a biopsy. Do not wait any longer if this has been an ongoing problem! Call (972) 669-9444 to schedule your appointment today!