Oral Pathology Biopsy in Wayne, NJ

The mucosa, the inner lining of your mouth, is usually smooth and coral pink. It’s important to keep an eye on any changes in this lining, such as persistent sores, unusual growths, or lumps inside your cheeks, gums, lips, or the roof of your mouth. These changes, even if they’re not painful, can sometimes be a sign of a health issue like oral cancer. If you notice anything different, don’t worry—just give us a call. We might recommend an oral pathology biopsy to ensure everything is in great shape. Remember, staying informed and proactive is the best way to maintain your oral health and peace of mind.

Understanding Oral Cancer

Oral pathology biopsies are not only used to diagnose cancer. However, sometimes lesions in the mouth are malignant (cancerous). A biopsy can reveal whether the tissue is cancerous or non-cancerous and if the cells have spread from another part of the body.

What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer refers to cancerous tissue growth in the oral cavity. The cancer cells may be found in the cheeks, tongue, lips, the floor of the mouth, hard and soft palates, the throat, and sinuses. These cancers can severely impact daily functions such as chewing, swallowing, and speaking, and if not detected early, can lead to significant complications.

Several factors can increase the risk of developing oral cancer. These include:

  • Tobacco use: Both smoking and chewing tobacco significantly raise the risk of oral cancer.
  • Alcohol consumption: Drinking heavily is another major risk factor.
  • Sun exposure: Frequent and prolonged exposure to the sun can increase the risk of cancer on the lips.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV): Certain HPV strains are linked to oral cancer, affecting the throat, base of the tongue, and tonsils.

Recognizing Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Recognizing early oral cancer signs is key to timely treatment. Symptoms include:

  • Non-healing sores in the mouth or on the lips
  • Red or white patches inside the mouth
  • Pain, numbness, or a feeling of something caught in the throat
  • Noticeable lumps or thickening tissues in the mouth or throat
  • Difficulty speaking, chewing, or moving the tongue or jaw

Early-stage cancers are usually localized to one area. As a result, they can often be successfully treated with less extensive procedures, preserving more of the mouth’s function and reducing the impact on quality of life. That’s why diagnosing oral cancer early is so important—it can drastically improve the effectiveness of treatment, potentially saving lives.

The Oral Cancer Screening Process

Oral Pathology Biopsy in Wayne, NJ | Dr. Fine | Fine Dental CareDuring your comprehensive dental exam, we will:

  • Conduct a visual examination of your mouth, including all surfaces and your throat.
  • Physically examine by feeling the tissues in your mouth to detect lumps or other abnormalities.
  • Use special tools if necessary to look at difficult-to-see areas, ensuring a thorough examination.

We generally recommend that adults receive a screening at least once a year at one of their routine dental visits. Those at higher risk may need more frequent screenings.

What Is an Oral Pathology Biopsy?

A biopsy is a critical diagnostic tool in detecting oral pathologies, including oral cancer, inflammatory conditions, and other abnormalities. The procedure involves removing a small tissue sample from the mouth, which we then send to a laboratory for detailed analysis.

Types of Oral Biopsies

There are several types of biopsies that may be performed depending on the location and nature of the abnormality:

  • Incisional biopsy: This involves removing a small section of the abnormal tissue while leaving the surrounding area intact. It is typically used when a larger area appears suspicious.
  • Excisional biopsy: This procedure involves removing the entire area of abnormal tissue. It is often used for smaller, easily accessible lesions.
  • Brush biopsy: A non-invasive method that involves brushing the cells off the lesion to capture cells for analysis. A more definitive biopsy may be required if atypical or suspicious cells are found.

The Oral Pathology Biopsy Process

Preparing for the Biopsy

Before the biopsy, we will review your medical history and explain the procedure. We may advise you to avoid certain medications that could affect bleeding, such as aspirin or blood thinners, for a few days before the procedure.

The Oral Pathology Biopsy Procedure

The biopsy is usually performed under local anesthesia, which numbs the area to prevent pain. If the lesion is difficult to access or if you are particularly anxious, we can use sedation methods to ease discomfort and anxiety. The procedure itself only takes a few minutes. We will use a scalpel or a special biopsy tool to remove a small piece of tissue.

It is common to experience some soreness at the biopsy site after the procedure. Over-the-counter pain relievers and ice packs can help manage discomfort. Instructions may include avoiding spicy or acidic foods and not brushing the biopsy area directly for a short period to allow for healing.

Analyzing the Tissue Sample

The tissue sample is sent to a pathology lab, where a specialist examines it under a microscope. The pathologist will check for cancerous cells, cell irregularities, and other signs of disease. Results typically take a few days to a week to return. Once ready, we will discuss the findings with you and suggest further steps if necessary.

Oral Pathology Biopsy at Fine Dental Care

If you are in the Wayne, NJ, area and are concerned about changes in your mouth, we can help! Don’t hesitate to contact Fine Dental Care to schedule an examination. Our dedicated team is here to assist you with your oral health needs, ensuring thorough care and peace of mind.