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Brazilian Dental Journal

Print version ISSN 0103-6440On-line version ISSN 1806-4760


ANDRADE, Sérgio Araújo et al. Hairy Tongue: Differential Diagnosis by Use of Widefield Optical Fluorescence. Braz. Dent. J. [online]. 2019, vol.30, n.2, pp.191-196.  Epub Apr 04, 2019. ISSN 0103-6440.

Hairy tongue is a benign pathology, characterized clinically by hyperkeratinized plaques on the dorsal surface of the tongue, hairlike, whose coloration ranges from unpigment, whitish, yellowish, green, brown to black. Diagnosis is clinical, and, in cases of whitish plaques, it may be difficult to differentiate between oral hairy leukoplakia, potentially malignant leukoplakia or squamous cell carcinoma. Thus, widefield optical fluorescence complementary examination may allow a better visualization of the local hairlike pattern of hyperkeratinization, typical of the hairy tongue, facilitating the diagnosis. In this work, a 57-year-old man was referred to the Dental Specialties Department of the Divinópolis Health Department (MG, Brazil) by a general dental practitioner, aiming a differential diagnosis of possible malignant lesion on the dorsal tongue surface. The complementary examination by wide-field optical fluorescence was performed. For this, it was employed a device with high-power light-emitting diode emitting light centered at a wavelength of (400±10) nm and maximum irradiance of (0.040±0.008) W/cm2 was used for fluorescence visualization. Fluorescence images showed projections of hairlike appearance in tongue dorsal surface with no aspects of malignancy. Hairlike appearance is the principal feature of hairy tongue. In this way, the final diagnosis was established. In conclusion, in this case, the use of widefield optical fluorescence in oral diagnostic routine provided a differential diagnosis, with no need of an incisional biopsy.

Keywords : hairy tongue; differential diagnosis; fluorescence image.

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