FAQ: Oral Lichen Planus

Medical dentist team in dental office talking with female patient and checking for oral lichen planus

What is Oral Lichen Planus?

You know that part of your dental visit where your dentist is peering all over the inside of your mouth? One of the things they are looking for is signs of Oral Lichen Planus. Although it sounds scary, this is a fairly common disease of the immune system. People with Oral Lichen Planus will have ongoing inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth. This condition, while not curable, can be successfully treated. The good news is it cannot be spread from one person to another.


How Do I Know if I Have Oral Lichen Planus?

Your dentist will review your health history and perform a thorough exam of your mouth for changes in the appearance and texture of your tissues that are caused by Oral Lichen Planus. The most common sign is a white lacy pattern of lines on the insides of the cheeks or lips. Lichen Planus can also cause swelling of the gums, red patches, and open sores. If you notice any unusual red, white, or sore patches in your mouth between dental visits, call your dentist for an evaluation, as soon as possible.


What are the Dangers of Oral Lichen Planus?

In some cases, Oral Lichen Planus has been linked to Oral Cancer. Some of the red patches can be very painful and make daily tasks like brushing, flossing, and eating difficult. Your dentist will make recommendations for things like ultra soft toothbrushes and pain relieving rinses for your comfort while you are being treated.



toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash



How Do You Treat Oral Lichen Planus?

The good news is that not all Oral Lichen Planus needs to be treated! Those white lacy web-like stripes on the inside of the cheeks will usually only require regular observation for changes. Any painful red patches or open sores will need to be treated, usually with a topical steroid. Your dentist will determine the best treatment for you based on your signs, symptoms, and health history.


Keep Your Regular Visits

Regular dental visits are the best way to catch and monitor conditions like Oral Lichen Planus. Your dentist will help you devise a plan to reduce the occurrence of your symptoms and will advise you on the best way to manage your condition. Have any questions? Call your well-trained dental team! Your oral health is our business!