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Leukoplakia signs and symptoms...
Jan 18, 2001

Hello Doctor,

First off, thank you for providing an invaluable source of information for a such a diverse group of people. I am interested in knowing what Oral Leukoplakia symptoms are. Currently, I believe I am HIV neg, but I have not tested yet. I have had a couple of small white splotches on the side of my tongue. Usually they go away in a couple of days and tend to recur at odd intervals (usually 2 weeks). They feel a bit painful when touched, like what happens when you eat something too hot and burn your tongue a bit. Could it possible that this could be Leukoplakia? Also, I've noticed that when they begin to disappear, they sometimes form odd circular forms (like a ring). Thanks for your time and expertise in this area....

Response from Dr. Reznik

Oral hairy leukoplakia (OHL) is a non-removable, white, corrugated or "hairy" lesion seen on the lateral margin of the tongue. OHL HL is usually asymptomatic (not painful), although patients occasionally complain of its appearance or texture. Differential diagnosis includes lichen planus, epithelial dysplasia and geographic tongue, so biopsy of the lesion may be necessary for an accurate diagnosis. Several examples can be found within HIVdent's Picture Gallery of the Oral Manifestations of HIV/AIDS (

A good example of severe OHL is located at the following URL:

Please take the time to visit a dentist experienced in oral medicine, oral pathology or oral surgery for an accurate diagnosis.

Thank you for your kind words regarding The Body's Forums!


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