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Dental and Oral Health (Adults)

Purple Spot on Roof of Mouth

04/20/2011

Question:

I had a dental check up today. They hygienist & dentist pointed out an area about the size of a penny or slightly smaller on the left side of the roof of my mouth, way at the back. The recommended watching it a month to see if it changes or going to have a biopsy. I am very nervous now about mouth cancer. What could this purple spot be? Could it be cancer?

Answer:

Given what you have described (including the color purple in your title), the most common or most likely possibility would be a bruise-like area just below the skin (mucosa) surface on the roof of the mouth. Waiting on a biopsy is probably not a bad idea. But since you are obviously concerned, I might suggest that you ask your dentist to re-examine the area in 2 weeks, rather than waiting a month. While it is difficult to totally exclude the possibility of cancer, it is unlikely. If the purple area has not substantially resolved by that time, a biopsy would be a reasonable next step to find out exactly what the problem may be and guide any additional care that may be necessary. 

Good luck!  

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Response by:

John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD
Clinical Professor of Pathology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University