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Dental and Oral Health (Adults)

Linea Alba and Bumps

05/06/2010

Question:

I have a wisdom tooth at the right side where the cheek is bitten routinely. I can find linea alba on both sides near the back end of the cheeks at the occlusal plane but the right side where I bite usually feels like a bump when palpated for the past few years. The dentist favors for removing the wisdom tooth which resolves the bump. But its been there for such a long time under the white linea alba. Is it frictional hyperkerotosis or leukoplakia and precancerous ? What to do? Thanks in advance

Answer:

If there is a "bump" under the mucosa, then this would most likely be fibrous hyperplasia (scar tissue, essentially). There certainly could be overlying frictional hyperkeratosis (which would be harmless). Without seeing and palpating (feeling) the area, it would be impossible to say for certain. If the wisdom tooth is removed, frictional hyperkeratosis would clear up. Precancerous leukoplakia would not, and any underlying scar also would not resolve.

If the wisdom tooth is definitely going to be removed, then the oral surgeon could do a biopsy of the tissue in this area at the same time and hopefully send the tissue to an oral pathologist for microscopic evaluation. Oral pathologists also see patients clinically, so that would be an option if you weren't going to have the wisdom tooth removed.

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Response by:

Carl M Allen, DDS, MSD Carl M Allen, DDS, MSD
Professor Emeritus of Oral Pathology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University