Biopsy/ Oral Lesions

BiopsyOralLesionsA biopsy is the removal of a piece of abnormal tissue from your oral cavity. This tissue is given to a pathologist for examination. The pathologist then prepares the tissue and examines the cells under a microscope in order to give a definitive diagnosis.

Any abnormal tissue (like lumps, non-healing sores, changes in color, etc.) found in your oral cavity that has persisted for more than 14 days and cannot be readily explained, should be biopsied to obtain a diagnosis. Most abnormal tissue is benign, but the biopsy will allow us to definitively make sure it is not something more serious.

Before the biopsy, a local anesthetic is used to numb the surgical area. Typically, little to no discomfort is felt as your periodontist removes a piece of tissue for biopsy. Following the surgery, the treated area may be a little tender, sore, or swollen; painkillers and antibiotics may be prescribed to help relieve discomfort and prevent infection from occurring.

In most cases, recovery time is minimal and patients can resume normal routines the day after biopsy.

Post-Op Instructions for a Biopsy


Rest with your head elevated when you arrive home after the procedure. We ask that you please limit your physical activity and keep moving to a minimum for the first 24-hours.

Ice Application

For the first 4-5 hours after the surgery, we recommend placing an ice bag to your face in 20-minute intervals. This will help reduce facial swelling. If needed, you can use an ice bag for 24-hours.

Medication Instructions

Please take anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) to prevent inflammation, swelling, and pain. For the next 4-5 days, we suggest taking 400mg-800mg of Ibuprofen every six hours to reduce swelling and pain and quicken healing. DO NOT take more than 2400mg in a 24-hour period. If you experience excessive pain or discomfort, take the narcotic that has been prescribed to you. If you do not have one, please call our office and the doctor will call in a prescription to your pharmacy. Please take as directed along with the NSAID. If you’ve been prescribed an antibiotic, please take as directed. We ask that you finish the entire dosage. If any of the medications are causing you extreme nausea, itching, or a rash; discontinue its use and call our office immediately.

If You Experience Bleeding

For the next few days following your surgery, some minor oozing may occur and is no cause for alarm. Gently rinse your mouth out with iced water or iced tea (tea contains tannic acid which can help stop the bleeding). We ask that you refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol as these activities will interfere with blood clotting and healing of the biopsy site. If your bleeding continues, apply pressure to the biopsy site with a moistened piece of gauze or tea bag for 20 minutes. If your bleeding is moderate to heavy and has continued for a few hours without stopping, please call our office immediately.

Eating Guidelines

When you arrive home after surgery, you may have something very soft to eat or cold to drink. In the evening on the day of your surgery, we recommend eating a soft, bland meal as this is usually the best way to help you feel better. For the first week, please do not eat anything hard or crunchy.

Caring for Your Mouth

If the biopsy area does not involve your teeth, please continue your regular oral hygiene habits. If the biopsy area involves your teeth, please do not brush or floss this area, but continue your regular oral hygiene habits on all other areas in your mouth. Please use an antiseptic mouthwash at least once in the morning and once at night before bed until your next appointment with our office. You can also swab your teeth in the surgery area with a cotton swab dipped in an antiseptic mouthwash every morning, every night before bed, and after eating and drinking.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call our office.

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