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Oral Cancer

How Long Does the Gum Take to Heal After a Biopsy?

10/26/2007

Question:

Hi. I had a small area of pigmentation on the left side of my hard palate just above my tooth and I was recommended to have a biopsy ‘just in case’ it was something serious. It turned out to be nothing when I got the results.

However, it doesn’t seem to be healing well and I am really concerned that the gum tissue is not filling itself in and it is incredibly sore. The biopsy has disturbed the gum directly next to my tooth and the gum is now very thin above my tooth. I have been unable to eat on this side of my mouth since it has been done.

Is the gum tissue likely to pad out or fill itself in back to the same sort of thickness it was before I had the biopsy or will it remain like a hole in the side of my mouth with very thin tissue covering? I have been back to the hospital where I had the biopsy done, but they are only suggesting removing the nerve of my tooth.

However, it is not the sensitivity of the tooth that is causing me a problem. It is the gum which appears not to be healing that is causing me pain and difficulties when I am eating. I had the biopsy done nine weeks ago now and was told it would only take a couple of weeks to heal.

I do not know what I can do to get my mouth back to some sort of normal. I am concerned the gum won’t heal anymore. If this is the case, is there anything I can do to correct what has been done? Any help or advice would be much appreciated. Thank you.

Answer:

Although each individual case is unique, what you describe does not sound too far removed from normal healing. The time course for the roof of the mouth to "feel" normal, though, can sometimes take 2-3 months because it is constantly being bumped by coarse food material at every meal.

If the area fails to "fill in" within the next 4-6 weeks, you should check back with the doctor who took the biopsy. A second surgery might be needed to graft additional skin to the gumline and make the area feel more normal, but this is rarely a necessity.

Good luck!

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Response by:

John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD
Clinical Professor of Pathology
Associate Dean of Dentistry Administration
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University