Desquamative gingivitis: a sign of mucocutaneous disorders--a review

Aust Dent J. 2003 Dec;48(4):206-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1834-7819.2003.tb00033.x.


Desquamative gingivitis is a clinical term to describe red, painful, glazed and friable gingivae which may be a manifestation of some mucocutaneous conditions such as lichen planus or the vesiculobullous disorders. It is important to be aware of this rare clinical entity so as to distinguish desquamative gingivitis from plaque induced gingivitis which is an extremely common condition, easily recognized and treated daily by the dental practitioner. This article gives an overview of desquamative gingivitis, its presentation, the possible causes, diagnosis and treatment. Early recognition of these lesions may prevent delayed diagnosis and inappropriate treatment of potentially serious dermatological diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Gingivitis / diagnosis
  • Gingivitis / etiology
  • Gingivitis / pathology*
  • Gingivitis, Necrotizing Ulcerative / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / immunology
  • Lichen Planus / complications
  • Lichen Planus / diagnosis
  • Plasma Cells / pathology
  • Skin Diseases, Vesiculobullous / complications
  • Skin Diseases, Vesiculobullous / diagnosis
  • Skin Diseases, Vesiculobullous / immunology


  • Immunoglobulin A