Oral Lichen Planus is ongoing chronic inflammation. This condition affects mucous membranes inside your mouth.
Oral Lichen Planus can appear as either white, lacy patches, red swollen tissues, or open sores.
Moreover, these lesions can bring pain, burning sensation, or other discomforts.
It is important to note that this disease does not pass from one person to another, however, the disorder is due to the immune system when it attacks its own cells.
The immune system in your body defends against the pathogens or foreign bodies like viruses or bacteria, however, when it attacks itself or its cells it causes an autoimmune disorder.
In this condition, the immune system attacks the cells or oral mucous membranes for unknown causes.
Moreover, the symptoms of this disease can be managed, shower people need regular monitoring.
This is in order to avoid any chances of developing mouth cancer in the affected area
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Lichen Planus
Lesions or sores from oral lichen planus appear inside your mouth’s oral cavity. They can either be present inside of your cheeks, gums, tongue, inner tissues, or palate as flat-topped or raised sores.
They can appear as white and lacy patches, raised patches of tissues that look like spider webs, or tender swollen patches of bright red color.
Moreover, they can also appear as or develop into open sores or ulcers (ulceration).
An important thing to note is that when these oral lesions appear white and lacy, they do not cause any discomfort or pain.
However, if they are red and swollen or open sores. you may feel pain and discomfort.
The signs and symptoms may include the following:
- Burning or stinging pain in the affected area
- increased sensitivity to acidic, spicy, coarsely textured, or hot foods.
- inflammation in your gums and can cause bleeding when you brush your teeth.
- while you speak, eat, or drink you can feel pain or discomfort,
- in case you have open sores, you may also experience this pain without any action of your jaw and oral cavity.
Causes of Oral Lichen Planus
Many scientists and doctors are not sure about the causes of oral lichen planus or lichen planus.
All that they can tell is that this condition is due to the immune system’s response. Some theories even point to it as an autoimmune disorder.
However, others think it can be a symptom of another autoimmune disorder.
Thus, the following factors can cause the development of oral lichen planus. They can be triggers who already have an autoimmune disorder, sustaining an injury to the mouth, or presence of oral infection.
Moreover, it can be due to certain medications or having an allergic reaction to something that your mouth came in contact with such as food or dental appliances.
Learn more about Important of dental visits here.
Diagnosis of Oral Lichen Planus
If you notice the above signs and symptoms in your oral cavity, then you should see your dentist or doctor.
At the appointment, they will ask about your medical history. Moreover, it is important to tell them about how you have been experiencing these symptoms and make sure to prove a complete list of medications.
During the examination, they will thoroughly examine your oral cavity and the affected areas.
They may also check other parts of your body, to look for the signs of symptoms of lichen planus.
After examination, they can order lab tests like biopsy, cultures, and blood tests. Let’s discuss them.
During is a medical procedure in which the doctor will take a sample from one or more lesions or sores in your mouth.
After taking the sample, they will examine or take into consideration the review of the sample under the microscope and look for the indications of oral lichen planus.
In some cases, they might use more specialized microscopic tests to identify immune system proteins associated with oral lichen planus.
After taking the sample of cells from your mouth using a cotton swab, the doctor or lab physician will examine it under a microscope.
It is the propagation of microorganisms in a growth medium. They can use cultural techniques to detect and identify infectious processes.
After taking the sample, they will examine it under the microscope to determine whether there are the presence of secondary fungal, bacterial or viral infections.
Your doctor or dentist can order them to identify conditions like hepatitis C, which is rarely associated with oral lichen planus and lupus.
It is done to confirm whether the is the presence of lupus in your body or not.
During these, they will look at your WBC, RBC, and platelet count however, in case of infection, there may be a rise in your white blood cells.
Oral Lichen Planus is a chronic inflammatory condition and there is no cure for it.
Therefore, the treatment of this condition focuses on managing the signs and symptoms on helping severe lesions or sores to heal them.
Moreover, reducing pain and discomfort is part of this treatment.
Your doctor or dentist will monitor your condition to determine the appropriate treatment or stop it as necessary.
If you have only white spots and lacy lesions, with no pain and discomfort, you may not need any treatment.
However, for more severe symptoms, you may need or more of the following options.
Corticosteroids are medications for reducing inflammation-related or oral lichen planus. Your doctor may recommend one of the following:
- Topical corticosteroids: Mouthwash, ointment, or gel is applied to the mucous membrane and is one of the most preferred methods
- Oral: They can be taken for a limited amount of time.
- Injections: Injections of corticosteroids can be injected directly into the lesions.
Side effects can vary, and often depends on the method of use. Talk to your doctor or dentist to understand the potential benefits against the potential side effects.
Immune Response Medications
These medications have the ability to suppress or modify your immune response and can help to improve more severe lesions or sores and the pain that comes with it.
They can be used as:
Topical Ointments or gels: Calcineurin inhibitors, which are similar to oral drugs to prevent rejection of transplanted organs, may be effective for treating this condition.
However, these medications have an FDA, the food and drug Administration warning because of an unclean association with cancer.
Examples are tacorolimuns and pimecrolimun.
Systemic Medications: For severe cases. where it affects the other areas as well, such as the scalp, genitalia, or esophagus, these medications suppress the immune system.
The use of certain medications like steroids can lead to yeast infection or overgrowth of yeast.
During the treatment, schedule a regular follow-up visit to check for secondary infections and receive treatment.
Moreover, not getting treatment for secondary infections can even worsen the condition.
Therapy that eases the symptoms without addressing the basic cause of the disease.
Treatments such as topical numbing agents can help to provide temporary relief for areas that are particularly painful.
It usually aims at reducing the signs and symptoms for comfort and well-being.
But it also may be useful in reducing organic consequences and sequelae of these signs and symptoms of the disease.
Dealing with the Triggers
If your doctor or dentist suspects drugs, an allergen, or stress to be the trigger for oral lichen planus. they can recommend how to address the trigger.
For instance, you can use other drugs or visit an allergist or dermatologist for additional testing, or learn stress management techniques.
Lifestyle and Home Remedies
Along with medical and dental treatments. self-care measures can help improve this condition or help prevent the recurring episodes of severe symptoms.
Practicing good oral hygiene: Keep your mouth clean to reduce the signs and symptoms and prevent infection.
Learn more about good oral and dental hygiene here.
Regular dental checkups: Visit your dentist at least twice a year as long-term treatment is required, therefore, talk to your doctor or dentist about how often you should visit them for the treatment to work effectively.
Manage Stress: Stress can often complicate or aggravate the symptoms, therefore, you need to develop certain skills to avoid it.
You can visit a mental health professional how can help you manage stress effectively.
Avoiding Irritants: Avoid using tobacco products and also avoid certain triggers that can manage your oral cavity.
These also include biting your lips and cheek.
How can You Prevent It?
Certain foods and beverages especially spicy or citrus ones can make your signs and symptoms worse.
Moreover, hot and cold beverages can also make you uncomfortable.
Thus avoiding them can help you prevent the symptoms to worsen.
Get rid of problems that could trigger oral lichen planus or make it worse:
- Have your dentist polish sharp teeth or replace damaged fillings or crowns.
- Talk to your doctor about changing medications if they cause irritation or aggravate the symptoms.
- See your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup.
- Use mild toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.
Make sure to keep track of your symptoms and tell your doctor if your notice any changes in your mouth.
In rare cases, this condition can lead to oral cancer, thus, make sure to go through screening for oral cancer every 6 to 12 months.
Complications and Potential Risks
Patients with Oral Lichen Planus can cause immense pain when eating or drinking food or beverages. Thus, avoiding eating or drinking can cause significant weight loss or other deficiencies.
It can, moreover, lead to yeast infection to fungal infections. Open sores also have a higher risk of bacterial infections.
Erosive or ulcer lesions can cause scarring on the affected areas.
People with this condition should go for regular dental check-ups with their dentists, as they usually have a higher risk of developing mouth cancer in the affected areas.
Oral Lichen Planus is a chronic inflammatory condition as oral lesions and causes infection in oral mucosa and is often attributed to immune response.
Lichen planus can occur on any part of the body and affects the skin, as Wickham striae that are papules and plaques, and often occur as white lines, hypertrophic lichen planus, cutaneous lichen planus, nails lichen planus, and lichen planopilaris.
To treat it they can study your cells through cell-mediated, or stem cell therapy, biopsy, or culture
There is no cure for this condition, however, there is the treatment for the symptoms. Therefore, maintaining your appointments with the dentist or healthcare provider can help manage the symptoms and can also help you identify the triggers.
Thus offer you a different treatment plan if required. Moreover, regular screening can help identify the development of oral cancer in early stages, however, it is often rare.