Review: allergic contact stomatitis

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Allergic contact stomatitis (ACS) is an oral mucosal immunoinflammatory disorder variably characterized clinically by erythematous plaques, vesiculation, ulceration, and/or hyperkeratosis and by pain, burning sensation, or itchiness. ACS is brought about by a T cell–mediated, delayed hypersensitivity immune reaction generated by a second or subsequent contact exposure of an allergen with the oral mucosa, in a genetically susceptible, sensitized subject. Lichenoid contact reaction is a variant of ACS brought about by direct contact with the oral mucosa of certain metals in dental restorations. The features of ACS are neither clinically nor histopathologically specific, so the diagnosis is usually presumptive and can only be confirmed by resolution of the inflammation after withdrawal or removal of the suspected causative allergen. When ACS is suspected but an allergen cannot be identified, patch testing is necessary. In persistent cases, topical corticosteroids are the treatment of choice, but for severe and extensive lesions, systemic corticosteroid and systemic antihistamines may be indicated. In this short review, we highlight the clinical, immunologic, and histopathological features of ACS, and provide some guidelines for diagnosis and management.

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