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Why should I use UTHealth Houston's Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Service?

An oral pathologist is a dental specialist specifically trained in the clinical, radiographic, and microscopic diagnoses of diseases of the oral cavity and maxillofacial region. The pathologist is an important diagnostic resource for clinicians in many specialties including oral surgery, periodontics, endodontics, and general dentistry.

At UTHealth Houston, our pathologists are affiliated with a word-class academic and clinical community. With us being ideally located within the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world, our pathologists collaborate with peers from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. With their specialized training and experience, our oral pathologists provide invaluable diagnostic information regarding diseases and irregularities of the oral and jaw bone areas.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the cost of a biopsy procedure?

    The fees for routine pathology services may range from $160 to $250 per specimen, depending on the complexity of each specimen submitted. However, fees can exceed this amount for more complex cases requiring additional procedures. The pathology service for your biopsy is a separate service. The fee from your pathology/biopsy service is additional to those from your dentist/surgeon fees.

  • What happens to my biopsy after the surgeon removes it from my mouth?

    Immediately after removing the oral biopsy specimen from your mouth, if routine tissue processing is needed, the surgeon will place it in a special solution, which preserves your tissue in the state of just how it was when it was removed from your body. This gives the pathologist the most accurate picture of what is going on and will allow them to make an accurate diagnosis for you. Your surgeon’s office will then send us your specimen along with the needed paperwork. We will process the specimen for the pathologist to view under a microscope. The pathologist will then describe what they see and provide a report with a diagnosis to your dentist/surgeon.

  • How long does it take to process my specimen?

    Routine soft tissue specimens are completed within 24-48 hours after receipt into our lab. If special stains, decalcification (if your specimen has any hard tissue in it, it must go through an additional decalcification process to soften the tissue), or other special testing is needed, additional time will be required.

  • Will my insurance be billed for the oral pathology service?

    Our oral pathology service is a separate service from your dentist’s office. Our laboratory is considered a specialty lab and claims are filed under your MEDICAL insurance, not your dental insurance. As a courtesy, our billing department will file a claim for you if you provide a copy of your MEDICAL insurance card to your dentist’s office staff, and they pass that information on to us. Please note, ALL BCBS and Medicare-managed HMO plans require preauthorization. It is the patient’s responsibility to inquire about this BEFORE the biopsy is taken.

  • Do we accept CHIP/Medicaid?

    Unfortunately, we do not accept CHIP/Medicaid at this time. If a biopsy is sent to us with a CHIP/Medicaid insurance card, the doctor will be contacted to check with the patient to ensure that the patient would like us to continue processing the specimen. If processing is to continue, the patient will need to pre-pay for the biopsy service by paying on-line or calling the billing department to pay by credit card. Any additional fees will be invoiced to the patient.

  • Do we accept Medicare?

    Yes, we do accept Medicare, as long as your dentist/surgeon is a registered PECOS Provider who is eligible to refer for Part B services. Please remind your dentist/surgeon about:

    • Filling out the ABN form that is provided to your dentist/surgeon
    • Providing your Medicare card to the office

    Please note: If your dentist/surgeon ordering the biopsy is not a registered PECOS provider eligible to refer for Part B services with Medicare, we will not be able to accept or process your specimen, and Medicare will not pay for this service. Please ask your dentist/surgeon if they are a registered PECOS provider.

    If the doctor or patient would like to pay for the biopsy service instead of filing with Medicare, we can accept the specimen as long as the service is pre-paid.

  • Who do I contact if I have questions about my bill?

    Please contact our billing department at 713-486-4405 for any questions pertaining to your bill.

  • How do I make an appointment to see an Oral Pathologist?

    Please ask your dentist/surgeon to submit a referral form to UTDentists.