Oral signs and symptoms can be a presenting feature of many systemic diseases, which can aid the clinician in establishing a definitive diagnosis. Immunologic and infectious conditions, hematologic disorders, vitamin deficiencies, and endocrinopathies, in addition to psychological disorders and physiologic conditions such as pregnancy, can present with oral signs and symptoms. Oral signs such as mucosal inflammation or infection, discoloration, decreased salivary flow, dental caries, and bleeding can be indicative of a systemic condition. However, these oral signs can be overlooked without thorough examination of the oral mucosa, thus increasing the likelihood of delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis.
Competence in the diagnosis of oral diseases and recognition of their signs and symptoms is relevant to all practitioners. However, adequate knowledge and understanding of oral diseases is particularly important for specialists such as dermatologists, dentists, and otolaryngologists. In this introductory chapter, we briefly review the anatomy, histology, physiology, and microbiology of the oral mucosa.
KeywordsOral cavity Oral mucosa
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