Oral Pathology

Finding an abnormal growth, a strange discoloration, or a sore that doesn’t seem to heal in your mouth can be concerning. Fortunately, our team at Bay Area OSM is here to help and available to examine you as soon as possible. After examination, if it looks suspicious, your surgeon might take a biopsy to rule out any oral pathology. If you’ve noticed sometime in your mouth that doesn’t seem right, don’t wait. Call us or book your appointment online today.

What is a biopsy used to detect?

Biopsies are used to detect oral pathologies affecting the mouth, cheeks, gums, tongue, and throat. Cancer is an obvious disease that biopsies are used to detect, but there are other pathologies as well. Some of these include:

  • Noncancerous growths and lesions
  • Precancerous cells
  • Systemic amyloidosis, or abnormal proteins
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Infections

What happens during a biopsy?

A biopsy is a simple outpatient procedure performed at at one of our Bay Area OSM offices. A sample of tissue is taken and viewed under a microscope to look for abnormal cells. The tissue sample can be sourced from a variety of methods including:

  • Cutting away a small sample
  • Using a small needle
  • Using a brush to scrape away a sample

No matter the method, most biopsies are noninvasive and require no downtime or recovery period.

Often your biopsy sample is sent to a pathology laboratory. There, trained professionals can perform additional tests in order to get you a quick and correct diagnosis.

Why might I need a biopsy?

If you notice anything out of the ordinary in your mouth, on your tongue, cheeks, throat, or gums it’s worth being checked out by the team at Bay Area OSM. A surgeon will examine your areas of concern and let you know if a biopsy is necessary. Be on the lookout for:

  • Red or white patches
  • Hairy looking patches on the sides of the tongue
  • Sore lasting longer than two weeks
  • Ulcers
  • Lumps or bumps
  • Unusual swelling

Frequently Asked Questions


Your appointment should last around 10 to 15 minutes. However, the taking of the samples is relatively quick, with each one taking about 10 to 20 seconds. If you have a scheduled appointment for a biopsy please allow a little more time as there are some forms to fill out and there may be an unexpected wait.


A biopsy is a sure way of detecting whether you have oral cancer or not. However, just because your surgeon has referred you for a biopsy does not mean that you have oral cancer. As mentioned above, there are many oral pathologies that could be causing the abnormality that’s been detected. The purpose of the biopsy is to sect what it is so that it can be treated successfully.


During your regular checkups with the surgeon, you will be examined to see if you have any signs of oral cancer. You can also do a check at home that ideally should be conducted once a month. Take a mirror and a bright light and look into your mouth. You will want to check all the surfaces inside for any irregularities. Pay attention to the way things look and feel. You should also try to see inside the throat. Run your fingers along your neck, jaw, and lymph glands for any swelling too. If you see anything of concern then call the offices of Bay Area OSM who will be able to identify the cause.


There are certain risk factors that seemed to be strongly linked with oral cancer. Doing your best to avoid these will help you reduce the chances of getting oral cancer. These include:

  • Smoking and other tobacco use in the mouth
  • Excessive or heavy drinking of alcohol
  • Exposure to the sun

It’s important to note that these just are risk factors and that 25% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are non-smokers who only drink alcohol occasionally.

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