Leukoplakia

Overview

Leukoplakia is a white thickening of the skin on the tongue, gums, floor of the mouth or inside of the cheeks due to some type of chronic (ongoing) irritation. This thickening occurs because of excessive cell growth.

Causes

  • Cigarette or cigar smoking
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Chewing the inside of the cheek
  • Ill-fitting dentures or partials
  • Broken, jagged teeth or failing fillings
  • Orthodontic wires (Braces)

Treatment

In order to treat this oral condition, your dentist must first identify and eliminate the cause. Most often, this means ending tobacco use; changing dental habits; and carrying out the recommended treatment, such as fillings, crowns, and/or replacement of ill-fitting dentures and partials.

The danger with this condition is that it is precancerous and should be monitored every three to six months following its correction. This is not to be confused with Linea Alba.

Leukoplakia is an area (vs. a line) of white, tissue that has been described as a ‘lacey-like looking area. Linea Alba is the thin white line (linea meaning “line” and alba meaning “white”) that runs along the inside of your cheek, demonstrating where your upper and lower teeth come together.