Tests and diagnosisBy Mayo Clinic staff
Most often, your dentist diagnoses leukoplakia by examining the patches in your mouth and ruling out other possible causes. To test for early signs of cancer, your dentist may:
- Remove a tissue sample (biopsy) for analysis. This involves removing a portion of the lesion with a small, spinning brush (oral brush biopsy) or the entire lesion (excisional biopsy).
- Send the tissue for laboratory analysis. A highly specialized imaging system allows a pathologist to detect abnormal cells.
- Send you for treatment if the report is positive. If your oral brush biopsy is positive, your dentist may perform an excisional biopsy, which removes the entire leukoplakia patch, if it's small, or refer you to an oral surgeon if it's large.
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