Oral cancer is a major global health burden, with more than 275,000 new cases estimated to be diagnosed annually (1). Oral cancer has been associated with a group of lesions and conditions that may develop into malignancy and are called oral potentially malignant disorders (OPMDs) (2). These disorders have previously been described by different names and terminologies such as precancer, precancerous, premalignant lesions and conditions, intra-epithelial neoplasia and precursor lesions in addition to oral potentially malignant lesions (OPMLs). This has attracted confusion in the international published literature and, as of yet, there is no consensus relating to the use of these terms in describing oral lesions that carry likelihood of malignant transformation (MT). What does make these oral lesions unique from other premalignant lesions in the body is that only a small proportion of OPMDs genuinely transform into cancer (2,3). In fact, the synonyms of precancer 96such as “premalignant” and “precancerous” literally mean that these lesions will transform into cancer at some stage. However, this is not an absolute in the context of oral carcinogenesis (2,4). Added to this ambiguity are the current gaps in our full understanding of the natural history of oral carcinogenesis (3,5).