The Role of the Oral Biopsy

When the doctor finds an unexplained patch of abnormal cells such as a white patch or a bump, the doctor will recommend a waiting period of two weeks to monitor the area or lesion.  Lesions that are caused by local trauma, infection, or inflammation may improve on their own.  For lesions that persist for two weeks or longer, he will order an oral biopsy.  An oral biopsy is a procedure in which the doctor will remove a small tissue sample to be examined under the microscope.  Oral biopsies will indicate if the lesion or bump has pre-cancerous or cancerous cells in it, guiding the doctor’s diagnosis and treatment.

Risks of Oral Biopsies

There are very few contraindications for an oral biopsy, or reasons why the biopsy should not be performed.  In the hands of an oral surgeon, there is very little risk for serious complications.   Furthermore, Dr. Hofkes will modify the standard biopsy technique for patients who cannot safely use local anesthetic or have bleeding tendencies.

What to Expect at my Oral Biopsy?

On the day of your biopsy, Dr. Hofkes will give you local anesthetic to numb the area as well as dental sedatives such as nitrous oxide or oral conscious sedation.  After the procedure, you may experience tenderness at the site of the biopsy, so avoiding hot, spicy, and highly acidic food and drink for a few days is recommended.  Over the counter medications such as Tylenol will ease any discomfort.

When To Expect Results

After your biopsy, the tissue sample will be sent to the lab for a microscopic analysis.  Once this analysis is completed, your specialist will call to schedule a follow-up appointment.

The Next Step

If cancerous cells are found in the sample, Dr. Hofkes will guide you through a multipronged treatment plan to remove and stop the cancer.  Treatment options include surgery to remove the tumor and any surrounding affected areas, reconstructive surgery to repair any areas that may have been affected during the surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.


Dr. Shawn Hofkes has advanced training in oral and maxillofacial surgery, and he will make your oral biopsy a stress-free and comfortable experience.  His practice in Cerritos, CA, offers a range of dental services to the entire family including, wisdom teeth removal, oral surgery, cone beam technology, cosmetic dentistry, and sedation dentistry.  If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hofkes, call us at 562-584-4082.