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I have a white line inside my mouth, inside cheek area

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I have a white line...
I have a white line inside my mouth, between my lower teeth and my upper teeth. (inside cheek area) I don't know if I had this before, since I did not notice it. However, since two days ago, the line has become thicker and raised. I looked under the light and the white line has become more visible, raised, and bigger. I am worried as to why this is happening and would like to know if there is anything I can do to reduce the size. I looked online and I know that this might be linea alba, but I just want to know why it is becoming more raised. I can feel the line with my tongue very easily.
Submitted: 5 years ago.Category: Dental
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Answered in 20 minutes by:
2/13/2012
Dentist: Mark Bornfeld, DDS, Dentist replied 5 years ago
Mark Bornfeld, DDS
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 6,025
Experience: Clinical instructor, NYU College of Dentistry; 37 years private practice experience in general dentistry, member Academy of General Dentistry, ADA, American Academy of Oral Medicine
Verified

Welcome to JustAnswer.

The white line to which you refer is technically referred to as the "linea alba", which (not surprisingly) translated from the latin literally means "white line". It is an area of "hyperkeratosis", or thickening of the surface tissue layers in the cheek lining, in response to the frictional contact with the teeth. The linea alba is typically located exactly at the level where the upper and lower teeth meet.

This phenomenon is completely normal. However, it may thicken in response to an increase in the amount of friction sustained by the cheeks, as might result from an unconscious cheek chewing habit. This is no different from the growth of calluses on the hands of someone who does heavy manual labor, and no more significant.

If your linea alba is thickening, you should take note of any unconscious habitual cheek chewing or any other activity which might increase frictional exposure to the cheek linings. There is not much more that you can do to reduce the thickness of these lines other than to eliminate the only factor that leads to thickening-- direct frictional contact.

Hope this helps...

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago
Thank you for your detailed answer. I have additional questions about this issue. I hope this is ok.
Few days ago, one day before the white line began to get thicker, I swallowed an overdose of acetaminophen by accident. I did try to throw up some of it, but only a little came out. So I am wondering if this has anything to do with the thickening of this white line. The white line on my left cheek has gotten thicker and the white line on my right cheek is not noticeable because I cannot feel it with my tongue.
Do you think the acetaminophen contributed or is relates to the white line?
Thank you so much for your help.
Dentist: Mark Bornfeld, DDS, Dentist replied 5 years ago

No-- an acetaminophen overdose would not account for the white line, which would be totally unrelated. That is not to say that an acetaminophen overdose is trivial-- this is a medication that has a narrow therapeutic dosage range, and dosages just slightly above the recommended dosage can cause liver injury, especially if consumed with alcohol or other products known to be toxic to the liver. (No more than 4 grams, or 8 Extra-Strength Tylenol tablets should be taken in a 24-hour period.) If there are any other symptoms, including jaundice or malaise, you may want to consult with your medical doctor to measure your blood liver enzymes to assure no damage was done. Again, this would not be relevant to your linea alba.

Good luck!

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago
Is there anything I can do do decrease the raised level of the white line?
Or more importantly, will the line ever decrease in size again? Or will the line be raised like this forever?
Dentist: Mark Bornfeld, DDS, Dentist replied 5 years ago

If your linea alba is thickening, you should take note of any unconscious habitual cheek chewing or any other activity which might increase frictional exposure to the cheek linings. There is not much more that you can do to reduce the thickness of these lines other than to eliminate the only factor that leads to their thickening-- direct frictional contact. As for the line remaining raised-- it will continue to be raised to some extent, because it is normal for it to be so.

Good luck!

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago
Is it possible that the line will be raised forever or permanently?
I don't have any cheek chewing habit so this is quite confusing...
Dentist: Mark Bornfeld, DDS, Dentist replied 5 years ago

Yes, it is likely, because it is normal for them to be raised. Whether or not they vary in thickness will depend on the amount of frictional contact they sustain during normal functional and para-functional activity.

Good luck!

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago
But is it possible for the raised line to subside if I be more careful?
Dentist: Dr. Mariana, Orthodontist replied 5 years ago
Dr. Mariana
Dr. Mariana, Orthodontist
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 707
Experience: Orthodontist and Pediatric Dentist since 1990.
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If you are concerned about it, even though, as Dr Borfeld said, it is a normal occurrence, you could ask your dentist to build you a night guard. That will protect your soft tissues if you have bruxism at night (clench your teeth) I hope this helps!

Dr Mariana Levy

Dr. Mariana
Dr. Mariana, Orthodontist
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 707
Experience: Orthodontist and Pediatric Dentist since 1990.
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