A dental biopsy is required when patients have lesions on their gums. Dentists take samples from the area to determine whether the lesion is cancerous.
Most lesions are not cancerous or precancerous, though the risk increases for tobacco smokers. They tend to be asymptomatic, which means that the patient doesn’t know the lesions are there. When they have a dental appointment, the dentist will check the gums and cheeks for abnormalities.
People who suspect that they have a lesion should immediately see a dentist. Waiting for test results can be stressful, but it’s better to know what’s going on.
The Truth About Benign and Cancerous Oral Lesions
There are several ways that lesions and growths develop in the mouth. There may be an ongoing irritation, a bacterial infection, or even a fungal infection.
Smokers are prone to getting oral lesions due to the chemicals in cigarettes, many of which are known carcinogens. They are also more likely to have weakened immune systems, making them more prone to fungal or bacterial infections that cause lesions.
Cigar smokers are also more likely to develop sores or growths of the mouth and throat than non-smokers. Smoking causes 85% of all head, mouth, and throat cancers.
Alcohol abuse is also a major risk factor for lesions, along with long-term overexposure to the sun. People with fair skin are more at risk, as are people who work outdoors. People who have HPV, or human papillomavirus, may be at a higher risk for cancer.
To minimize the potential for lesions, schedule a tooth cleaning session every six months. Try to cut down on smoking and drinking, and take HPV screenings at least once per year.
Types of Dental Biopsies
Once the dentist discovers an oral lesion, he or she will order lab tests. There are two types of dental biopsies, described below.
The dentist takes a small slice from the lesion and sends it to the lab for analysis. Lab technicians will process the sample and determine whether it is benign, precancerous, or cancerous.
Once the dentist has those results in hand, treatment and/or surgery can be scheduled. New laser equipment disinfects and cauterizes tissue, minimizing the pain associated with oral surgery.
In this case, dentists remove the entire lesion or growth at once. Dentists will send the sample to the lab for analysis and inform the patient of the result. If the mass is cancerous, it’s time to schedule surgery.
No matter the type of biopsy, patients need to fast for up to eight hours before the appointment. They may need to stop taking some medications like blood thinners for a few days if they plan to use more than a local anesthetic. The dentist will indicate which medications their patients should pause.
Caring Dentists With Dental Biopsy Experience
When it comes to oral surgery, people tend to procrastinate. What they may not realize is that good health starts with good oral health. Any infection or blockage will circulate throughout the entire body, interfering with the entire digestive tract.
Our experienced team here at Well Rooted Dentistry is ready to help you feel better. Whether you need tooth whitening, crowns, or a dental biopsy, we will put you at ease and serve you with a smile.
Call us at (401) 443-4007 to schedule your first visit. We will meet with you and discuss your long-term wellness plan.