Common Questions About Smoker's Keratosis

If you’re a smoker, one of the many oral health problems that you could face is smoker’s keratosis. Although smoker’s keratosis isn’t dangerous in and of itself, it is a significant risk factor for oral cancer. Attending regular general dentistry appointments for dental cleanings are the best way to ensure that any keratosis that appears gets diagnosed early. Here are the answers to questions patients commonly have about smoker’s keratosis.

What exactly is smoker’s keratosis?

Smoker’s keratosis is a white patch that typically appears on the roof of the mouth in people who smoke. The white patch may look like tile, and it may be dotted with red spots. Although smoker’s keratosis generally occurs on the palate, it can occur elsewhere in the mouth as well. Smoker’s keratosis is not cancerous or pre-cancerous. However, it does increase the risk of cancer in other parts of the mouth.

What are the symptoms?

Smoker’s keratosis is painless, so most people don’t know they have one until their dentist finds it during a dental cleaning. In some cases, you may see the patch or notice the feeling of rough skin in your mouth. In the vast majority of cases, however, a diagnosis comes as the result of an oral exam without the presence of any symptoms.

How is it treated?

There is no specific treatment for smoker’s keratosis. If your dentist finds a keratosis during an exam, he or she will likely recommend that you stop smoking or at least reduce the amount that you smoke. Although there is no treatment for smoker’s keratosis, your dentist should still examine any white patches that are found in your mouth. In some cases, smoker’s keratosis mimics the appearance of leukoplakia, which is potentially cancerous and requires treatment.

Oral cancer screenings and oral surgery are part of the dental care in Bloomington, IL, that we provide at Eagle Falls Dentistry. For general dental care for your entire family, call our practice today at (630) 894-5992.

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