Introduction: Though oral aphthosis is common, it has a significant impact on the quality of life in the patients. It is the most common oral ulcerative condition encountered in clinical practice. This study describes the characteristics and patterns of oral aphthosis seen at a tertiary dermatological centre in Singapore, with emphasis in evaluating the management gaps and in identifying underlying systemic diseases and nutritional deficiencies. Materials and Methods: This is a retrospective review of medical records over a 10-year period between June 2000 and June 2010. Two hundred and thirteen patients were identified using the search terms ‘oral ulcers’, ‘aphthous ulcers’, ‘oral aphthosis’, and ‘Behcet’s disease’. Patients with Behcet’s disease without oral ulcers and other diagnoses such as pemphigus vulgaris, lichen planus and herpes simplex were
excluded. The remaining patients were evaluated with regard to demographic characteristics, characteristics of oral ulcers, associated connective tissue disorders and nutritional deficiencies, diagnostic tests results, treatment response as well as follow-up duration. Results: One hundred and seventy-five patients were included in this study. One hundred and one patients had recurrent oral aphthosis, with 77 having simple aphthosis and 24 having complex aphthosis. Fourteen patients (8%) fulfilled the International Study Criteria (ISG) for Behcet’s disease, of which, 85.71% had complex aphthosis. The therapeutic ladder for such patients ranged from topical steroids and colchicine through to oral corticosteroids and/or dapsone therapy. Conclusion: Recurrent oral aphthosis is a niche condition in which dermatologists are well-poised to manage. This study demonstrates that a more definitive management and therapeutic algorithm for oral aphthosis are needed for better management patients in the future. In particular, complex aphthosis needs to be monitored for progression onto Behcet’s disease.