Understanding Oral Diagnosis and Biopsies

When a person visits an oral dental surgery center for an oral examination, most of the time, he/she thinks that the focal point is teeth. This often happens but not every time. There are several other parts of oral and facial anatomy that need to be examined as well. For instance, inside areas of the mouth (lips, gums, hard and soft palate, and tongue) and outside areas of the mouth (skin, muscles and glands in the neck and temporomandibular joint). Moreover, when it comes to detecting oral or systemic diseases, a complete dental examination will work as the first line of defense. 

Occasionally, a lesion may be found that needs to be examined further. Lesions are white or red spots or lumps (tumors), however, they are typically benign. So, it is better to stay on the side of caution and perform a biopsy to be sure.

Oral Diseases for Examination

Most of the time, it is oral cancer which is examined because it is life threatening and its early detection can increase the chance of survival. Some other oral diseases which may be screened are:

  • Fibroma: It is a thickened mass which feels like a lump in the mouth lining.
  • Leukoplakia: It is a condition that causes white patches inside the mouth. It is usually benign but lesions may be precancerous and are often required to be biopsied. 
  • Lichen Planus: It is an inflammatory disease which may cause discomfort.
  • Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid: It is an autoimmune disease which may cause oral lesions but it is not life-threatening. 
  • Pregnancy Tumors: They are benign red swellings that may form on the tissues of the gum of a pregnant woman due to changes in hormones. 

In addition, there are also several systemic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and Crohn’s disease which may produce effects that can be found in mouth. At oral dental surgery centers, dental professionals carry out your examination of oral health to look out for the signs of these potentially serious conditions. 

When do I need a Biopsy? What’s the procedure?

While the majority of the lesions are harmless, if there is any chance that the growth could be cancerous or precancerous, you are more likely to be recommended for biopsy. Depending upon how much tissue needs to be removed; this can either be a simple in-office procedure or may be done in a hospital setting. 

This may include making a small incision and removing a part of the suspicious area. The tissue sample is then sent to the pathologist in order to find out any signs of disease. Typically, biopsy procedure requires local anesthesia and doesn’t last long. In case, incisions are made, they are closed with self-dissolving sutures that don’t need to be removed in the future. 

Since oral tissues are highly rich in blood vessels, some bleeding for a period of time is normal. So, there is nothing to be bothered. Follow-up instructions will be given including how to manage swelling and discomfort, what to eat or drink and when to take medication. Maintaining good oral hygiene and getting some rest will help you get back to normal as early as possible. When the pathology report is prepared, you will be provided with the results. Depending upon the result of biopsy report, further course of treatment will be decided.

So, if you notice anything wrong or abnormal inside or outside your mouth, visiting an oral dental surgery center for oral examination will help you find if everything is right or whether something is serious that needs to be taken care of.