Clinical features and presentation of oral potentially malignant disorders

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Oral potentially malignant disorders (OPMDs) are conditions that precede the appearance of invasive cancers of the oral cavity. The term embraces both precancerous lesions and conditions referred to in the earlier WHO definitions. Leukoplakia is the most common OPMD; erythroplakia though rare is more serious. Several variants of leukoplakia are recognized and clinical subtyping could help in predicting the prognosis to a limited extent. Biopsy is essential to confirm the provisional clinical diagnosis and timely referral to a specialist is indicated. Certain OPMDs such as oral submucous fibrosis are encountered particularly in population groups from Asia with specific life-style habits. This review provides clinical descriptions of the wide range of PMDs encountered in the oral cavity as a prelude to the topics discussed in this focus issue.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOral Surgery Oral Medicine Oral Pathology Oral Radiology and Endodontics
Early online date4 Apr 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Apr 2018


  • potentially malignant disorders
  • leukoplakia
  • erythroplakia
  • erythroleukoplakia
  • oral lichen planus
  • oral lichenoid lesions
  • graftversus host disease
  • Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE)
  • palatal lesions of reverse smokers
  • oral submucous fibrosis
  • epidermolysis bullosa
  • dyskeratosis congenital
  • actinic cheilitis


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