A Guide to Clinical Differential Diagnosis of Oral Mucosal Lesions
Learning Objectives

Course Author(s): Author: Michael W. Finkelstein, DDS, MS; Emily Lanzel, DDS, MS; John W. Hellstein, DDS, MS

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the dental professional should be able to:

  • Classify oral lesions into surface lesions and soft tissue enlargements using a decision tree (flowchart).
  • Describe the clinical features that are characteristic of each class of oral mucosal lesions in the decision tree, including:
    • White surface lesions - epithelial thickening, surface debris, and subepithelial change
    • Generalized pigmented surface lesions
    • Localized pigmented surface lesions - intravascular blood, extravascular blood, melanin pigment, and tattoo
    • Vesicular-ulcerated-erythematous surface lesions - hereditary, autoimmune, viral, mycotic, and idiopathic
    • Reactive soft tissue enlargements of oral mucosa
    • Benign tumors of oral mucosa - epithelial, mesenchymal, and salivary gland
    • Malignant neoplasms of oral mucosa
    • Cysts of oral mucosa
  • Describe the characteristic or unique clinical features of the most common and/or important diseases of the oral mucosa.
  • Perform a step-by-step clinical differential diagnosis, using the decision tree, for patients with oral mucosal lesions.