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An oral biopsy is a surgical procedure to take and examine tissue from the mouth more closely. Tissue may come from soft tissue, bone, or even tissue inside teeth. Oral biopsies are performed to diagnose or rule out oral cancer and other disorders.

Woman with hand on a neck, which is glowing red to demonstrate jaw and neck pain.

Have You Noticed Any Changes?

Oral cancer may start with vague, barely noticeable symptoms. The first sign of a problem may be a small, superficial change. Painful symptoms are more noticeable, but sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint the source. 

Monitor your oral health and see a dentist regularly to help identify small or imprecise symptoms early.

Are You Seeing Unusual Lesions or Discoloration?

Rough spots, crusty lesions, ulcers, and open sores on the lips, tongue, or tissues inside the mouth may be symptoms of oral cancer. Lesions that don’t heal within a few weeks are especially concerning. Other symptoms to watch for include red or white patches or white lines anywhere inside the mouth.

It’s important to seek medical help immediately after noticing these symptoms.

Are You Experiencing Pain or Discomfort?

Always consult your dentist if you feel persistent pain or numbness in your mouth, jaw, or throat. In some cases, oral cancer can cause facial tenderness and sinus pain. Pain may be a symptom of many disorders, and numbness occurs when something affects the nerves of the jaws. An oral biopsy can help identify the underlying cause.

Cancerous or precancerous lesions may prompt uncontrolled bleeding in the mouth or throat. Teeth may seem to fall out for no reason, and tooth sockets may heal slowly or fail to heal at all after a tooth extraction.

Does Your Throat Feel Strange?

Symptoms of oral cancer can affect the throat as well as the mouth. People describe the feeling like a sore throat or feeling like something is constantly stuck in the throat. Hoarseness can occur for many reasons, but a chronic hoarse voice or other noticeable changes in voice may indicate a serious health issue.

Do You Have Trouble Eating?

An oral biopsy may be recommended if you experience difficulty while chewing or swallowing. Sometimes oral cancer can make moving the tongue or jaw difficult in general and disrupt speech patterns. Other symptoms, such as loose teeth or dentures that no longer fit correctly, can also interfere with chewing and speaking.

Oral cancer or precancerous cells may trigger unexplained bleeding in the mouth or throat. Other signs to watch for include swelling underneath the jaw, swollen lymph nodes, or other unexplained masses in the neck.

Where Can I Learn More?

Contact Dr. Salamati at 310-275-1090 or use this online form. We can answer your questions or schedule an appointment if you have concerns about oral health. Treatment of oral cancer, as with most types of cancer, has a better chance of success if it’s caught early.