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Gum biopsy

  • Definition
    • A gum biopsy is a surgery in which a small piece of gingival (gum) tissue is removed and examined.

  • Alternative Names
    • Biopsy - gingiva (gums)

  • How the Test is Performed
    • A painkiller is sprayed into the mouth in the area of the abnormal gum tissue. You may also have an injection of numbing medicine. A small piece of gum tissue is removed and checked for problems in the lab. Sometimes stitches are used to close the opening created for the biopsy.

  • How to Prepare for the Test
    • You may be told not to eat for a few hours before the biopsy.

  • How the Test will Feel
    • The painkiller put in your mouth should numb the area during the procedure. You may feel some tugging or pressure. If there is bleeding, the blood vessels may be sealed off with an electric current or laser. This is called electrocauterization. After the numbness wears off, the area may be sore for a few days.

  • Why the Test is Performed
    • This test is done to look for the cause of abnormal gum tissue.

  • Normal Results
    • This test is only done when gum tissue looks abnormal.

  • What Abnormal Results Mean
  • Risks
    • Risks for this procedure include:

      • Bleeding from the biopsy site
      • Infection of the gums
      • Soreness
  • Considerations
    • Avoid brushing the area where the biopsy was performed for 1 week.

  • References
    • Eusterman VD. History and Physical Examination, Screening and Diagnostic Testing. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. Feb 2011;44(1):1-29. PMID: 21093621