Classification of Gingival Diseases
Gingival Diseases of Viral Origin

Gingival Diseases of Viral Origin

These gingival diseases may resemble plaque/biofilm – induced gingivitis.

Herpes Virus Infections

These include primary herpetic gingivostomatitis, recurrent oral herpes and Varicella-zoster infections. While not technically gingival diseases, these infections are important to understand because they are very common, highly contagious and can be transmitted to the dental hygienist. With primary herpetic gingivostomatitis (Figure A), the patient may present with an elevated temperature, general malaise and vesicle formation on the gingival or oral mucosa. Many vesicles may coalesce into ulcerative lesions. With recurrent oral herpes (Figure B), lesions commonly known as ‘fever blisters’ or ‘cold sores’ appear around the mouth. The Varicella-zoster virus (Figure C) is responsible for chickenpox (varicella). The virus becomes latent but can be reactivated as herpes zoster or shingles. In addition to the skin lesions, oral lesions may be present. These are painful and stop sharply at the midline. This is generally a condition found in older adults.

Figure A.
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Primary herpetic gingivostomatitis
Figure B.
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Recurrent oral herpes
Figure C.
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Varicella-Zoster of the tongue.