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Oral Surgery/Sores on cheek-from mouth cancer?


I have a lot of bumps on my cheeks (not painful unless I bite my cheek though) that I have had for several years.
I checked my mouth for signs of leukoplakia or mouth cancer, and I saw that all around my cheeks/mouth (not just on the bumps) large areas of the skin was kind of cloudy/chalky – slightly lighter shade of pink but not white.
The “bump” areas were not more discolored than other areas (in fact they looked more reddish/pink).
Would this sound like just normal discoloration plus canker sores that don’t go away? Or could it be leukoplakia/precancer/cancer?
And…..who should I see about this? A doctor or oral surgeon-or dentist? ENT?

Matt -  Of course, without examining you I cannot be sure what the area of your palate looks abnormal.  In general, most of us has some whitishness along the line where our upper and lower teeth come together.  The act of chewing irritates the cheek tissue.  Irritated cheek tissue, just like anywhere in the body, will cause a thickening of the tissue with any chronic irritation.  On the foot you will get a callous from rubbing and the same will happen on the fingers and hands with similar repeated irritations.  

So without evaluating you I cannot be sure, but what you describe seems similar to callous formation anywhere in the body.  My suggestion is that you make an appointment with an oral surgeon to completely evaluate the area to make sure it is nothing to worry about.  The doctor might take a piece of the tissue to evaluate, but from what you describe, it sounds very common.

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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicing for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor at State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA- University of Connecticut DMD-University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Residency - Roosevelt Hospital, NYC

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