Oral lichen planus is a long-term oral health condition and autoimmune disorder that inflames or attacks the tissues lining the inside of the mouth. Unfortunately, there is no confirmed known cause, but there are ways to keep the condition under control.
In its mildest form, lichen planus appears as white, lacey patches on the tissues, causing very little or no discomfort. If lichen planus becomes more aggressive, it can cause red, swollen, tender and ulercerative sores to occur throughout the mouth. Lichen planus can develop on any of the tissues of the mouth, but the most common sites are the tissues lining the inside of the cheeks and the gums.
Lichen Planus at Its Worst
If lichen planus progresses into red, swollen patches or ulcerative sores, the sufferer may experience sensitivity and/or a painful burning sensation. If lichen planus is present on the gums, bleeding and gingivitis (infection of the gums) will accompany the sores. On the tongue, lichen planus manifests as thickened, painful patches that cause discomfort while chewing, swallowing and speaking.
A common concern with lichen planus is that secondary infections, such as oral candidiasis, can often develop when erosive and ulcerative sores are present. And sometimes, the presence of a secondary infection can interfere with properly diagnosing the condition.
Treating Oral Lichen Planus
Treatment for lichen planus often involves topical corticosteroid drugs. Although lichen planus is difficult to treat, the topical ointments help to control the condition. Lichen planus can be initially diagnosed by an oral health care professional. However, referral to an oral pathologist is often made for confirmation and for a more thorough investigation. Any discomfort, bleeding, burning sensation and/or sore in the mouth should always be brought to the attention of and examined by an oral health care professional, such as a dental hygienist or dentist.
Your smile deserves the best care it can get.
Maple Dental Hygiene Care’s friendly and experienced dental hygienist Pina Mazza is here to help you with all your oral hygiene care needs! Contact Pina today to schedule a visit.