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What is lichen planus of the mouth?

Lichen planus is a skin disorder that produces lesions in the mouth. A more severe type of Lichen planus involves painful ulcers that erode surface tissue. Although there is no permanent cure, your dentist may prescribe a topical anesthetic or other medication to reduce and relieve the condition.
Oral lichen planus is a fairly common condition. Although the cause is not completely clear, it tends to be lumped in diagnostically and therapeutically with the autoimmune category of disorders.

Most cases of lichen planus in the mouth are asymptomatic, and are detected incidentally during a dental exam. Classic lichen planus has a very characteristic appearance in the mouth, and so is usually easy to recognize. It also has a characteristic microscopic appearance on biopsy. These mild cases should be followed, but generally do not require treatment.

Occasionally these areas can become raw, with burning, itching and pain. Sometimes corticosteroids are used topically for symptomatic relief. Severe cases may be treated with other immunosuppressive drugs.

The "erosive" category of oral lichen planus has the potential to undergo malignant change, and so must be closely monitored.

Similar appearing lesions that don't have all the hallmarks of lichen planus are sometimes referred to as "lichenoid" reactions. Most frequently these are seen as hypersensitivity reactions to metal -- amalgam fillings, metal orthodontic appliances, etc. These remit when the sensitizing substance is removed.
It is an oral form of lichen planus. Oral lichen planus is an inflammation of the mucous tissues of the mouth. Its cause is unknown but it can look similar to an allergic reaction or oral cancer.

It is important to have it diagnosed by a professional experienced in treating oral diseases.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.