The Cytology Brush Procedure: What Is It? How Does It Work?

The Cytology Brush Helps Dentist Take Pre-Biopsy Samples

Technology in dentistry is continually changing. One such new technological tool is brush cytology. The oral brush cytology process is a simple dental procedure performed directly in the dental office. It results in very little or no pain or bleeding, and requires no anesthetic.

Sometimes dental professionals need a safe an inexpensive way of testing an oral cyst they might think needs watching. This is where the cytology brush can come in handily. By using this tool, a dental specialist may at times avoid the need to have a surgical biopsy taken. It is a dental office tool that can help dentists when they suspect the possibility of oral cancer. Firm pressure with a circular brush is applied to the suspicious area. The dental expert then rotates the brush five to ten times. The benefits of brush cytology

The process works when the dentist applies firm pressure with a circular brush movement to the suspicious area. The rotating brush lifts sample cells that the dentist can analyze and send to the lab.   The benefit of using this brush cytology is that you might be able to avoid the need for surgical biopsy and can also avoid the excessive costs of such tests.

Taking these samples is easy and the dentist can perform them during a routine dental examination. Because of its ease of use, and the elimination of any surgical procedure, this method allows dentists to get  tissue samples  early in areas that the doctor may decide to just watch for while. With oral cancer, an earlier determination is always important, for both your piece of mind, and because cancers caught earlier have a higher success rate of being cured.


Once the dentist uses brush cytology, depending on the results, he may also refer you to an oral surgeon or an oral cancer specialist. This is when you may need further testing such as:

  • A biopsy. This is the surgical removal of a sample of an area that might be thought to be cancerous.
  •  X-rays, or digital imaging, as well as CT scans or MRIs.
  • If cancer is found, then your dentist will suggest treatment such as chemotherapy, or radiation therapy will be programmed to remove the tumor or growths.