When your dentist does an examination, he looks for abnormal gum tissue as well as cavities in your teeth. If he finds unusual or abnormal gum tissue, he may perform a gum biopsy. During a gum biopsy, your dentist removes a tiny amount of tissue from your gums. Then he sends it to a lab for testing to determine if you have oral cancer or non-cancerous growths in your mouth.
Types of Gum Biopsies
Incisional biopsies occur when a dentist removes a tiny amount of tissue and examines it under a microscope. A pathologist also looks at the tissue to determine a diagnosis regarding the tissue sample.
During an excisional biopsy, your dentist removes an entire lesion. This lesion is removed along with some surrounding healthy tissue, then examined for cancer cells.
When performing a percutaneous biopsy, the doctor inserts a needle into the questionable area to remove cells. The cells are then tested, and a diagnosis made. A fine needle biopsy or a core needle biopsy may be done, depending on the doctor’s preference.
During a brush biopsy, a brush is used rubbed against the area of concern in the mouth. The skin cells collected from the brush retested for signs of cancer. If cancer is detected, further testing occurs to learn more about cancer. Brush biopsies remain the most frequently used forms of initial diagnosis for oral cancers.