Desquamative gingivitis

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Desquamative gingivitis
Other names: DG
Desquamative gingivitis

Desquamative gingivitis is an erythematous (red), desquamatous (shedding) and ulcerated appearance of the gums.[1] It is a descriptive term and can be caused by several different disorders.[2]

Signs and symptoms

Desquamative gingivitis involves lesions of the free and attached gingiva. Unlike plaque-induced inflammation of the gums (normal marginal gingivitis), desquamative gingivitis extends beyond the marginal gingiva, involving the full width of the gingiva and sometimes the alveolar mucosa.[3] The term "full width gingivitis" usually refers to the oral lesions of orofacial granulomatosis however.[4] The color is another dissimilarity between typical marginal gingivitis and desquamative gingivitis, in the latter it is dusky red.[3] Plasma cell gingivitis is another form of gingivitis which affects both the attached and free gingiva.[1]


Caused by various autoimmune diseases as well as allergies. Erosive lichen planus, mucous membrane pemphigoid, pemphigus vulgaris, erythema exsudativum multiforme and lupus erythematosus.


Differential diagnosis

Desquamative gingivitis is a descriptive clinical term, not a diagnosis.[1] Dermatologic conditions cause about 75% of cases of desquamative gingivitis, and over 95% of the dermatologic cases are accounted for by either oral lichen planus or cicatricial pemphigoid.[1] The exact cause of desquamative gingivitis cannot be determined about a third of cases.[1]

Rare causes include:


  • Improving oral hygiene
  • Minimising irritation of the lesions
  • Specific therapies for the underlying disease (where available)
  • Local or systemic immunosuppressive or dapsone therapy (notably not corticosteroids)


This condition was first recognized and reported in 1894, but the term desquamative gingivitis was not coined until 1932.[1]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 (editors) Newman MG, Takei HH, Klokkevold PR, Carranza FA (2012). Carranza's clinical periodontology (11th ed.). St. Louis, Mo.: Elsevier/Saunders. pp. 111–126. ISBN 978-1-4377-0416-7.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. Lo Russo, L; Fedele, S; Guiglia, R; Ciavarella, D; Lo Muzio, L; Gallo, P; Di Liberto, C; Campisi, G (January 2008). "Diagnostic pathways and clinical significance of desquamative gingivitis". Journal of Periodontology. 79 (1): 4–24. doi:10.1902/jop.2008.070231. PMID 18166088.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Odell EW (Editor) (2010). Clinical problem solving in dentistry (3rd ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. p. 192. ISBN 9780443067846.
  4. Welbury R; Duggal M; Hosey MT (2012). Paediatric dentistry (4th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 319. ISBN 978-0199574919. Archived from the original on 2021-08-28. Retrieved 2020-11-10.

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