Early detection is the key to a good prognosis when dealing with oral cancer.
Often, the only way to properly diagnose oral cancer is through an oral biopsy.
Drs. Sean M. Healy and Diego Hurtado in Santa Fe, NM, are oral surgeons who can perform a biopsy to detect cancer in its earliest stages.
What Is a Biopsy? Removal of a Small Amount of Tissue
During a biopsy, our surgeons will remove a small sample of abnormal tissue from the lips, tongue, cheeks, gums, or soft palate. This tissue is then sent to a pathologist at a trusted lab for analysis. The pathologist can then identify if the tissue is cancerous.
When Should You Get a Biopsy?
These symptoms can indicate the need for an oral biopsy:
Lumps, bumps, rough spots, lesions, and patches of white or red inside the mouth could be signs of oral cancer. Sores or lesions that persist and do not heal within two weeks on the face, neck, or inside the mouth can also be a sign.
Chronic Sore Throat
Another common symptom is a chronic sore throat, or feeling like something is stuck in the back of your throat. People who have oral cancer may also find it difficult to chew, swallow, speak, or move their tongue and jaw.
Swelling of the lips, gums, cheeks, and jaw can be a sign of oral cancer. You may also experience pain with this swelling. Patients who wear dentures may find it hard to put them in or uncomfortable while wearing them due to this swelling.
You should contact our office for an oral cancer screening if you are feeling any unexplained numbness or tenderness near your mouth, neck, or any area around your face.
Sometimes, oral cancer can cause your teeth to shift out of place. Patients who wear dentures may also notice the top and bottom dental arches do not fit together as usual.
Don't let a Lesion go Undiagnosed
Approximately 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation
Am I at Risk For Developing Oral Cancer?
The majority of oral cancer cases appear in patients over the age of 40.
Both cigarettes and smokeless tobacco can lead to oral cancer.
Alcohol is especially dangerous when used in conjunction with tobacco.
Persistent Viral Infections
Viruses such as human papillomavirus (HPV) can lead to oral cancer.
Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation Exposure
UV exposure is one of the most common causes of lip cancer.
Call Our Santa Fe, NM, Practice Today
Both Dr. Healy and Dr. Hurtado are board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons. With this high level of training and experience, many dentists in the area feel confident referring to us for oral biopsies and oral surgeries. Our doctors strive to provide the best possible care while ensuring your comfort. They take the time to get to know each patient and thoroughly explain the processes of their upcoming procedure. As a patient, you are their top priority.
Contact our Santa Fe, NM, practice if you notice any dental or oral abnormalities or lesions. They may not be a sign of cancer, but it's important to receive confirmation from a physician. Our caring staff and compassionate doctors will ensure you are seen promptly.
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This place is amazing! Friendly staff and awesome experience. I got a tooth extracted was in and out and no. Soreness what so ever the next day. Highly recommend them.View On Google
These folks totally saved me by working me into their schedule for an emergency extraction. No exaggeration.... I had a dangerous situation. I'm totally indebted to them...View On Google
Routine Dental Exams Are Crucial For Detecting Oral Cancer
Your dentistry practice should perform cancer screenings during your routine oral exams. During these cleanings, they will inspect your teeth, gums, and the soft tissues of your mouth. They will be able to check for any unusual sores, growths, or lesions that could be a result of cancer. If any oral abnormalities are detected, your dental professional may recommend you to our office for a biopsy. By having routine dental cleanings twice a year, you can better protect yourself from oral cancer.
The Types Of Oral Biopsies
During this procedure, our dental surgeon will remove a small amount of abnormal tissue to be sent to a pathologist for a diagnosis. This type of biopsy can be performed under general anesthesia to ensure comfort during the procedure, depending on the complexity and extent of your procedure.
During this biopsy, rather than using a scalpel to remove tissue, a thin needle is used. This thin needle is inserted into the affected tissue to remove cells. The small tissue sample is sent to a pathology lab for diagnosis. This form of biopsy is often used when checking for recurrence of cancer. For our more anxious patients, we offer sedation to help keep you relaxed during this procedure.
The Biopsy Procedure What You Should Expect
"Typically, you can expect your results in about three days, though it could take longer."
Recovery Is Quick Any Symptoms Should Only Last a Few Days
Maintain Oral Hygiene
Good oral hygiene and dentistry practices should be maintained to keep the affected area clean and prevent infection. However, you should avoid brushing around the site of the extraction.
Your surgeon may recommend taking over-the-counter medication to decrease pain, swelling, and discomfort.
Notify Your Surgeon
You should notify our Santa Fe, NM, practice if you notice any bleeding under the skin or signs of infection.
"The entire staff all have hearts of gold." Why Greater Santa Fe Chooses Us
The entire staff all have hearts of gold. Dr. Healey and his assistant Charlie were amazing with my wisdom teeth extraction. Not only did Dr. Healey have an excellent and professional yet warm and caring manner to him, he truly knows his stuff.View On Google
Dr. Hurtado was more than willing to answer all my questions prior to and after surgery, and his staff would also give follow up phone calls to check on my recovery and provide guidance in the recovery process. All were very friendly and helpful...View On Google