The normal and pathological pigmentation of oral mucous membrane: a review

J Contemp Dent Pract. 2003 Aug 15;4(3):76-86.


Pigmentation is both the normal and abnormal discoloration of oral mucous membrane. Pigmentation has multifactorial etiology. Most of the pigmentation is physiologic but sometimes it can be a precursor of severe diseases. Melanin pigment irregularities and color changes of the oral tissues could provide significant diagnostic evidence of both local and systemic disease. The differential diagnosis, clinical, etiology, and histopathological features of pigmentation are discussed and the current literature is reviewed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Endocrine System Diseases / complications
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / diagnosis
  • Mouth Diseases / classification
  • Mouth Diseases / diagnosis
  • Mouth Diseases / etiology*
  • Mouth Mucosa / anatomy & histology*
  • Mouth Mucosa / pathology*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Nevus, Pigmented / diagnosis
  • Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome / complications
  • Pigmentation Disorders / classification
  • Pigmentation Disorders / diagnosis
  • Pigmentation Disorders / etiology*
  • Pigmentation*