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Abnormality in the appearance of a cell. It may indicate the cell has an increased risk of becoming malignant. If atypical cells are seen in epithelial tissues the epithelium is described as dysplastic and this is graded into mild, moderate, and severe (atypical cells in the lower third, lower two thirds, or more than two thirds of the epithelium respectively). Epithelium that shows severe dysplasia has a high risk of turning malignant; that which shows mild dysplasia has a low risk.

Subjects: Dentistry.

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