An aphthae represents a well-defined, either round or oval ulcer in the oral mucosa which is covered with a white-yellow pseudomembrane and mostly painful. It is surrounded by a margin and an erythematous halo. The most frequent aphthae are represented by the recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS) which affects 5-25per cent of the general population and is therefore plausible to also be the most common and recurrent inflammatory ulcerative condition of the oral cavity of healthy individuals. A localized burning or pain 24-48 hours in advance characterizes the typical prodromal symptom of RAS. The treatment is symptomatic.
If an aphthous ulcer is accompanied by symptoms like genital ulcerations, arthritis, adenopathy, fever or uveitis, a systemic etiology should be considered.
There are also some conditions which (indeed) have the same appearance like aphthae but actually are chronic diseases.
Associated systemic disorders
Aphthous ulcerations in chronic diseases
Recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS)