A chronic (lasting) inflammatory condition, oral lichen planus affects the mucous membranes in your mouth. White, lacy patches, red, swollen areas, or open sores can appear on the inside of your cheeks, gums, or tongue.
Sensitivity to spicy, or acidic foods is common, or a burning sensation without obvious cause. Inflamed, or bleeding gums are possible, your tongue could feel thicker, the condition overall can make speaking, or eating awkward.
A condition which is unpleasant and may bring stress, depression, weight loss, dietary deficiencies, or increase the risk of oral cancer. Treatment is important and can be quite individual.
There is no definitive, generic cause. Oral lichen planus is not an infection, can not be passed from person to person and is not hereditary.
We know that white blood cells involved in inflammation appear to be activated, indicating an immune disorder, although the triggers involved may vary from person to person.
Normally safe medication can be a cause, injury to your mouth, other infections, an allergic reaction to dental materials, or any agent. As much as the condition causes stress, this can also be stress induced.
Your case will be assessed by a maxillofacial consultant at our London clinic, with a sound understanding of lichen planus. From a physical examination, to medical history, to how you feel and the exact symptoms you are having.
Subtle symptom differences can be pointers in themselves to a specialist. They can also arrange blood tests, allergy tests, cellular testing for secondary infection, or carry out a biopsy.
They may help to eliminate options such as lupus, confirm immune system proteins associated with oral lichen planus, or assist in a number of ways in identifying a specific cause.
Treating Oral Lichen Planus
Where your oral lichen planus can be tied to a specific trigger, perhaps a drug, or allergen, the issue can naturally be addressed in a reasonable time.
Short term, or longer where appropriate, analgaesic mouthwashes, ointments or gels can help alleviate symptoms and treatment can also focus on helping unpleasant lesions heal.
If no definitive cause is established, topical (applied locally) corticosteroids, in the form of small, dissolvable pellets are often effective. A course of systemic (swallowed) corticosteroids is an option in more serious cases.
As with other immune response medication, potential side effects need to be weighed up against the benefits. Also against your unique health profile.
Support At Our Clinic
The best path for you will naturally be the focus of your consultant. From decisions on a treatment plan and medication, to advice on diet, or different approaches to oral hygiene.
Stating there is always a cure for oral lichen planus would be quite wrong. This will apply in a proportion of cases, in others, symptoms can be managed and improved, to bring a better quality of life.
For those cases and in others, regular monitoring makes sense. To alleviate flare ups before they become too much and because there may be a risk of mouth cancer developing in affected areas.
Our staff are here to help and arrange the best support, short and long term. You are welcome to get in touch with our London clinic at any time.