Diagnosing and treating dermatologic lesions of the mouth and gums is challenging for most clinicians because of the wide variety of disease processes that can present with similar appearing lesions and the fact that most clinicians receive inadequate training in mouth diseases.
In a study of oral lesions in older adult patients, for example, almost all clinicians surveyed felt that it was important to examine older patients' mouths, but less than one-fifth stated that they routinely performed such examinations.
Almost four-fifths did not correctly diagnose a clinical picture of an early squamous cell carcinoma.
One of the keys to improving accuracy in diagnosing oral lesions is forming an appropriate differential diagnosis.
This review will discuss the presentation and treatment of the most common oral lesions, including tumors, infections, autoimmune and connective tissues diseases, aphthous ulcers, and other miscellaneous oral lesions.
DR. CHARLES L. DUNLAP AND / DR. BRUCE F. BARKER
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology UMKC School of Dentistry