• Alternative Names

    Hairy leukoplakia; Smoker's keratosis


    The goal of treatment is to get rid of the lesion. Removing the source of irritation is important and may cause the lesion to disappear.

    • Treat dental causes such as rough teeth, irregular denture surface, or fillings as soon as possible.
    • Stop smoking or using other tobacco products.
    • Do not drink alcohol.

    You may need surgery to remove the lesion. The lesion is usually removed in your health care provider's office using local anesthesia.

    Leukoplakia on the vulva is treated in the same way as oral lesions.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Leukoplakia is usually harmless. Lesions often clear up in a few weeks or months after the source of irritation is removed.

    Oral hairy leukoplakia is often a sign of HIV infection and an increased likelihood of developing AIDS, but it is not harmful by itself.

    • Chronic discomfort
    • Infection of the lesion
    • Oral cancer

    Calling your health care provider

    Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have any lesions resembling leukoplakia or hairy leukoplakia.