Stomatitis and other oral infections
A common infection, stomatitis—inflammation of the oral mucosa—may extend to the buccal mucosa, lips, and palate. It may occur alone or as part of a systemic disease.
There are two main types: acute herpetic stomatitis and aphthous stomatitis. Acute herpetic stomatitis is common and mild. Aphthous stomatitis is common in young girls and female adolescents.
Acute herpetic stomatitis is usually short-lived and easily recognized; however, it may be severe and, in neonates, may be generalized and potentially fatal. Aphthous stomatitis usually heals spontaneously, without a scar, in 10 to 14 days.
Other oral infections include gingivitis, periodontitis, Vincent’s angina, and glossitis. (See Oral infections, pages 816 and 817.)
Acute herpetic stomatitis results from herpes simplex virus. The cause of aphthous stomatitis is unclear.
Signs and symptoms
Acute herpetic stomatitis begins with burning mouth pain. In immunocompromised individuals, reactivation of the herpes simplex virus infection may be frequent and severe. Gums are swollen and bleed easily, and the mucous membranes are extremely tender. Papulovesicular ulcers appear in the mouth and throat and eventually become punched-out lesions with reddened areolae. The small vesicles rupture and form scales. Another common finding is submaxillary lymphadenitis.
Pain usually disappears from 2 to 4 days before healing of ulcers is complete.