Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Mouth Diseases

White patch



a dentist noticed a white patch on my tongue and refered me to oral surgery, what could this be.


There are many different things that can cause a white patch (sometimes called a leukoplakia) on the tongue. I would hope that your dentist told you some of them.

One of the most important things to consider is a precancerous lesion or an early form of oral cancer. In some cases, the only way to determine this is by having the oral surgeon obtain a small sample (biopsy) of this patch so that it can be examined and diagnosed under the microscope.

If the patch persists and it cannot be readily explained or diagnosed as a specific condition, then biopsy would be warranted so that you can find out exactly what this "leukoplakia" represents and what additional treatment you may need, if any. Good luck!

For more information:

Go to the Mouth Diseases health topic, where you can:

Response by:

John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD
Clinical Professor of Pathology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University