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Article: Volume 48 Number 5 Page 418 - May 2021

  Dental Update 489: 418-422  Read article

COVID-19:  COVID-19: oral manifestations

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Abstract: The grim milestone of three million deaths due to the global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was reached a few weeks ago. COVID-19 is a multi-system all-pervasive disease with protean manifestations, and its major signs and symptoms, such as the incessant dry cough, fever, and pneumonia, are well known. Yet, its mucocutaneous manifestations, particularly those of the oral cavity, appear to be little recognized. This may be due either to the rarity of oral manifestations of COVID-19, or poor detection of such symptoms by attending physicians who may do only a cursory examination of the oral mucosa because of the overwhelming gravity of the other major systemic presentations. Nevertheless, there are now a considerable number of reports, including systematic reviews, on oral manifestations of COVID-19 in the literature. These, apart from the now well-known dysgeusia of COVID-19, range from ulcers, erosions, bullae, vesicles, mucosal pustules, macules, papules and pigmentations, as well as haemorrhagic manifestations including petechiae, crusts and spontaneous bleeding. Unfortunately, the majority of these reports are anecdotal in nature and remain to be substantiated. Here, we provide a brief overview of the reported oral manifestations of COVID-19, and their management protocols.

Clinical relevance: To raise awareness of the currently reported major and minor oral manifestations of COVID-19 and their management protocols.

Author notes: Lakshman Samaranayake, DDS, DSc(hc), FRCPath, FRACDS, FDS RCS(Edin), Professor Emeritus and Immediate-past Dean, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Kausar Sadia Fakhruddin, BDS, MSc, Lecturer, Departments of Preventive and Restorative Dentistry, College of Dental Medicine, University of Sharjah, UAE. Nihal Bandara, BDS, PhD, FHEA, Lecturer, Oral Microbiology, Bristol Dental School, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK. Email: lakshman@hku.hk

Objective: The reader should gain awareness of the probable aetiopathology and management protocols for currently reported major and minor oral manifestations of COVID-19.