- What Is It
- Is It Painful
- Oral Cancer Diagnosis
The time it takes to heal from an oral biopsy ranges from 2-3 days to 2 weeks, depending on the location and type of biopsy done:
- If the biopsy is done under local anesthesia without stitches, pain and discomfort will last only for the initial 2-3 days. After this, there should be gradual improvement.
- If the biopsy requires stitches, it may take up to 2 weeks to heal completely.
What is an oral biopsy?
An oral biopsy involves removing a small tissue sample from your mouth or oropharynx to detect the presence or absence of cancerous cells. It is performed as an outpatient procedure.
Oral biopsies are used to diagnose conditions such as oral cancer:
An oral biopsy helps your doctor evaluate the exact cause of lesions or lumps and determine whether they are benign, precancerous, or cancerous.
What are different types of oral biopsy?
According to the American Cancer Society, there are three types of oral biopsy:
- Fine-needle aspiration biopsy or cytology: A fine thin needle is used to draw fluid or cells from the lump in the neck after numbing the affected area.
- Exfoliative cytology: This is a quick, noninvasive, and painless method that involves gently scraping cells from the suspicious oral area.
- Incisional or excisional biopsy: With incisional biopsy, a sample of the tissue is cut using either local anesthesia or general anesthesia. With excisional biopsy, the entire suspicious area is removed.
When is an oral biopsy needed?
Oral biopsies are recommended in the following cases:
- Diagnosing the cause of oral symptoms such as mouth sores, patches (red or white) on the tongue or gums, altered taste sensation, and difficulty swallowing
- Oral lesions that persist for more than 2 weeks even after removing local irritants
- Diagnostic confirmation of suspected malignant lesions and chronic ulcerations
- Diagnosis of precancerous lesions such as leukoplakia or erythroplakia
- Lesions associated with pain, paresthesia, or anesthesia
Is an oral biopsy painful?
An oral biopsy is typically painless. However, according to the Radiological Society of North America, you may feel a sharp pinch or pinprick from the needle used to inject the local anesthetic or needle used to take the biopsy.
You may experience mild pain 4-6 hours after the biopsy or after the local anesthetic wears off, which can be treated with oral painkillers (acetaminophen and Nurofen).
Swelling may be observed within 2-3 days after the surgical procedure and can be reduced by ice pack application on the biopsy site for the initial 2 days.
How is oral cancer diagnosed?
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 53,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer every year. In most cases, oral cancer is diagnosed by an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor or a dentist during a routine examination.
If cancer is suspected, your dentist or ENT doctor will refer you to a specialist—either an oral and maxillofacial surgeon or an otolaryngologist—for a further examination to evaluate the stage of cancer before any treatment is planned.
Further tests usually involve scans to check whether cancer has spread to nearby tissues, such as the jaw or skin, as well as to check whether it has spread to the lymph glands in the neck. These tests may include:
What to do after an oral biopsy
After an oral biopsy, take the following steps to reduce pain and promote healing:
- Start taking pain relievers before the anesthesia wears off (usually within 2-3 hours)
- Avoid hot, spicy, or sharp foods
- Avoid biting the area of the biopsy site
- Brush your teeth gently
- Avoid rinsing vigorously
- Do not use a mouth rinse other than warm saltwater
- Drink liquids or pureed foods (soups, puddings, and milkshakes) for the initial 2-3 days
- Avoid smoking for at least 72 hours, as smoking this can raise the risk of wound infection
- Place fresh gauze over the area and press it gently if there is oozing or slight bleeding
Contact your doctor if you notice the following:
Latest Oral Health News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Oral Biopsy. European Association of Oral Medicine: https://eaom.eu/education/eaom-handbook/oral-biopsy/?v=c86ee0d9d7ed
Oral Cancer. Stanford Health Care: https://stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-conditions/cancer/oral-cancer.html
Top How Long Does an Oral Biopsy Take to Heal Related Articles
Screening Tests for CancerCancer detection are methods used to find cancer in persons who may or may not have symptoms. Symptoms of cancer are abnormal sensations or conditions that persons can notice that are a result of the cancer. It is important to your doctor for regular checkups and not wait for problems to occur.
Dental Health QuizTake the Dental Health Quiz to test your IQ of oral hygiene, cavities, and common tongue and gum diseases. This quiz covers healthy mouths and teeth from brushing to flossing and everything in between check-ups!
Head and Neck Cancer QuizLearn the facts about head and neck cancers.
Head and Neck Cancer Symptoms and TreatmentsHead and neck cancers include cancers of the throat, lips, nose, mouth, larynx, and salivary glands. They are more likely to affect men over the age of 50. Head and neck cancer treatments include radiation, surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and hyperfractionated radiation therapy.
How Do You Detect Oral Cancer?Performing self-examinations of your mouth, tongue, and cheeks is one of the best ways to routinely detect oral cancer.
Oral CancerThe term oral cancer includes cancer of the mouth (oral cavity) and the back of the mouth (oropharynx). Red and white patches inside the mouth, bleeding, loose teeth, pain upon swallowing, a lump in the neck, earache, and a sore on your lip or in your mouth that won't heal are all symptoms of oral cancer. Treatment for oral cancer depends upon the staging of the disease and usually involves surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
Oral Care: All About Canker SoresCanker sores can make talking or eating harder than usual. Learn more about their causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Oral SurgeryOral surgery is a procedure that may be used to remove wisdom teeth, insert dental implants, correct and repair jaw deformities, treat TMJ, cleft lip, cleft palate, snoring, and sleep apnea. It may also be used to biopsy abnormal tissue for lab testing.
The Early Stages of Mouth CancerMouth cancer is also referred to as oral cancer. It is one of the cancers occurring in the head and neck region. It can arise from any part of the oral cavity, such as the lips, tongue, gums (gingiva), palate, the floor of the mouth, and the inner lining of the cheeks (buccal mucosa). Mouth cancers are locally invasive; it spreads to other parts of the head and neck, and eventually, the rest of the body.
What Are Mouth Lesions?Mouth lesions are the abnormal patches, sores, or altered texture of the mouth lining. The various mouth lesions include cuts, lumps, bumps, or ulcers (firm white patches over the mouth, lips, gums, and throat).
What Are the Causes of Mouth Ulcers?Mouth ulcers are also called canker sores, aphthous ulcers, and are a form of mouth sores. They are small, round ulcers that may be red, yellow, or gray. They occur in lining of the oral cavity (mucous membrane), usually on the inner surface of the lips and cheeks. The causes of mouth ulcers can be traumatic, environmental, systemic disease, or medication. Quite often, mouth ulcers are triggered by an underlying medical condition.
When Should I Be Concerned About Oral Lesions?Oral lesions are generally noncancerous; however, they may cause cancer over time, which could manifest in the following nine signs.