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Reading: Unravelling white patches of the mouth


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Unravelling white patches of the mouth


Mark Andrew Watts ,

Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, GB
About Mark
I am a dentist and current Trust Doctor in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery in the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital. I have a keen interest in all things surgical as well as teaching.
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Zarina Shaikh

Royal Cornwall Hospital, GB
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Summary: This Article aims to provide a guide for junior doctors and medical students on how to carry out a focused clerking of patients that present with intra-oral white lesions. In addition, it summarises the most common diagnoses as well as their management. Advise is given on how to quickly identify, which lesions are likely to be malignant and how to manage such patients safely. ‘Best of five’ multiple choice questions are provided to help with application and consolidation of knowledge. Relevance and Take-Home Messages: Doctors and medical students need not panic when presented with a patient that has intra-oral white patches. This step-by step guide will allow them to clerk these patients with more precision and confidence. It provides a deeper insight into which lesions are more likely to be dysplastic or in-situ carcinomas as well as how to safely manage and make onward referrals to the relevant specialty.
How to Cite: Watts MA, Shaikh Z. Unravelling white patches of the mouth. The British Student Doctor Journal. 2021;5(3):63–73. DOI:
Published on 01 Jun 2021.
Peer Reviewed


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