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Oral Examination: An Important Adjunct to the Diagnosis of Dermatological Disorders

Authors: Sanjay Saraf


The oral cavity can be the site for early manifestations of mucocutaneous disorders (MD) or the only site for occurrence of these disorders. It can also exhibit oral lesions with simultaneous associated skin lesions. The MD involving the oral mucosa commonly presents with signs such as ulcers, vesicles and bullae. The unique environment of the oral cavity may modify these signs of the disease, thereby making the clinical diagnosis an arduous task. In addition to the unique environment of oral cavity, the overlapping of the signs of various mucocutaneous disorders, also makes the clinical diagnosis more intricate. The aim of this review is to present the oral signs of dermatological disorders having common oral involvement and emphasize their   importance in   early detection of the systemic disorders. The aim is also to highlight the necessity of oral examination by a dermatologist while examining the skin lesions. Prior to the oral examination, it must be imperative for the dermatologists and the dental clinicians to have the knowledge of oral anatomy. It is also important to know the impact of various diseases on oral mucosa, and the characteristic features of various oral mucocutaneous lesions. An initial clinical oral examination is may help in the early diagnosis of the MD. Failure to identify the oral manifestations may reduce the likelihood of early treatment and lead to more serious problems. This paper reviews the oral manifestations of immune mediated dermatological disorders with common oral manifestations.

Keywords: Vesiculobullous lesions, Desquamative gingivitis, Nikolsky’s sign, Erythema.

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