You may have been told by your dentist you have Lichen Planus but what is it?
It is worth stating that you can get this on other parts of your body but today we are only talking about Oral lichen planus (LIE-kun PLAY-nus).
It is an ongoing (chronic) inflammatory condition that affects mucous membranes inside your mouth(the soft tissue such as the inside of your cheeks).
Although most times you will not be able to see it, lichen planus usually presents as white, lacy patches that can become red and swollen tissues. (most times patients do not realise it is there)
However, is possible may cause burning, pain or other discomforts.
Lichen Planus happens because our immune system mounts an attack against cells, Oral lichen planus can’t be passed from one person to another.
If you do present with symptoms, they can usually be managed with advice from your dentist.
It is vital to say while most cases are harmless it is possible of developing oral cancer. Where we see patients with the condition, we monitor it closely and if we were to be concerned we refer to see a specialist.
This is why it is so important to see a dentist for regular check-ups, it really does save lives.
As mentioned already, the white lacy patches often have no symptoms but you may be having signs with the following?
- Burning sensation or pain
- Sensitivity to hot, acidic, or spicy foods
- Bleeding and irritation with tooth brushing
- Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis)
- Painful, thickened patches on the tongue
- Discomfort when speaking, chewing, or swallowing
What are the common symptoms?
Signs and symptoms of oral lichen planus
It may appear as:
- Lacy, white, raised patches of tissues
- Red, swollen, tender patches of tissues
- Open sores
Where is it most found?
They may appear on the:
- Inside of the cheeks is the most common location
- Inner tissues of the lips
Seeing a dentist is very important lichen planus is more common is women and in the age group 35-50.
It is not widely known that dentists do more than just check fillings and call out numbers and letters during their check-ups.
They check all of your mouth, tongue, cheeks, roof, floor, glands, they even look at your face.
This is because they have to screen for oral cancer or indeed any head and neck cancer.
If you think about it how sensible is that? It is not as though we see a GP every 6 months to help prevent cancer and disease of the rest of our bodies.
It is all too easy to stay away from the dentist “ until you have a problem”
BUT prevention is so much better than the cure!
So don’t delay book in to be seen and keep yourself healthy