A gum biopsy is a dental procedure in which a doctor removes a sample of tissue from your gums. The sample is then sent to a laboratory for testing. Doctors use a gum biopsy to diagnose causes of abnormal gum tissue. These causes can include oral cancer and noncancerous growths or lesions.

A gum biopsy tests for abnormal or suspicious gum tissue. We may recommend it to help diagnose:

  • a sore or lesion on your gum that lasts longer than two weeks
  • a white or red patch on your gum
  • ulcers on your gum
  • swelling of your gum that doesn’t go away
  • changes in your gums that cause loose teeth or dentures

The information from the gum biopsy, along with the findings of imaging tests, can help your doctor diagnose gum cancer as early as possible. An earlier diagnosis means less scarring from removal of tumors and a higher rate of survival.