Diagnosis is based on the history and clinical examination. There are no specific laboratory findings. It is important, however, to consider and exclude any possible systemic cause for recurrent ulcers, such as coeliac disease, especially in people with systemic symptoms or signs, or adults with no prior history of oral ulceration. Furthermore, a solitary ulcer lasting more than 3 weeks may well represent malignancy: it is essential that all such ulcers be further investigated, with an incisional biopsy usually indicated.
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