Differential diagnosis and management of oral ulcers

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Abstract

The diagnosis and treatment of oral lesions is often challenging due to the clinician’s limited exposure to the conditions that may cause the lesions and their similar appearances. While many oral ulcers are the result of chronic trauma, some may indicate an underlying systemic condition such as a gastrointestinal dysfunction, malignancy, immunologic abnormality, or cutaneous disease. Correctly establishing a definitive diagnosis is of major importance to clinicians who manage patients with oral mucosal disease. Some of these diseases are infectious; however, most are chronic, symptomatic, and desquamative. Treatment and management requires an understanding of the immunopathologic nature of the lesion. This review will address how to differentiate and diagnose varying types of oral ulcers and provide a treatment strategy.

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