Simple Steps To Better Dental Health
Search
Help
space placeholder.space placeholder
Featuring consumer information from Columbia School of Dental & Oral Surgery
.
HomeFree E-mail
Oral Health Made Simple: Your Prescription For Knowledge
 PREVENT PROBLEMS
Small BoxAll About Cavities
Small BoxBrushing and Flossing
Small BoxFluoride
Small BoxMouth-Healthy Eating
Small BoxSealants
Small BoxTaking Care of Your Teeth
Small BoxTobacco
Small BoxYour Dental Visit
Small BoxMORE
 CONDITIONS
Small BoxBad Breath
Small BoxCavities
Small BoxCold Sores
Small BoxDry Mouth
Small BoxImpacted Tooth
Small BoxSensitive Teeth
Small BoxTMJ
Small BoxTooth Discoloration
Small BoxMORE
 TREATMENTS
Small BoxCrowns
Small BoxDentures
Small BoxFillings: The Basics
Small BoxGum Surgery
Small BoxImplants
Small BoxRoot Canal Treatment
Small BoxScaling and Root Planing
Small BoxWhitening
Small BoxMORE
 GENERAL TOPICS
Small BoxControlling Pain
Small BoxCosmetic Dentistry
Small BoxEmergencies
Small BoxFill, Repair, Replace
Small BoxKids And Teens
Small BoxOral Health and Your Body
Small BoxOrthodontics
Small BoxPeriodontics
Small BoxSeniors
Small BoxMORE
.
Step 1 Prevent ProblemsSimplestepsPrevent Problems
Step 2 Understand ConditionsSimplestepsUnderstand Conditions
Step 3 Explore TreatmentsSimplestepsExplore Treatments

go to Interactive Tools go to Parents' Guide go to Dental Drugs go to News go to Ask The Dentist

Back to Conditions
New reviewed by Columbia banner
.
.
Lichen Planus

space placeholder.space placeholder
space placeholder.What Is It?.
space placeholder.Symptoms.
space placeholder.Diagnosis.
space placeholder.Expected Duration.
space placeholder.Prevention.
space placeholder.Treatment.
space placeholder.When To Call a Professional.
space placeholder.Prognosis.
space placeholder.Additional Info.
space placeholder..
space placeholder

space placeholder
space placeholder.What Is It?
space placeholder

Lichen planus is a long-lasting disease that affects about 1 out of 100 people. It causes abnormal-looking areas called lesions on the skin or the moist surfaces of the mouth, throat and vagina. Rarely, it affects the scalp and nails.

Lichen planus occurs more often in women than in men and most often in people over age 50.

No one is sure what causes lichen planus. Some people appear to have reactions to medicines. Others develop it from reactions to flavorings, such as cinnamon. In some cases, lichen planus may be linked to hepatitis C. Stress often makes the symptoms worse.

People who have lichen planus in their mouths may be more likely to develop oral cancer. They have a 1% to 2% chance of developing a type of cancer called oral squamous cell cancer. Anyone with lichen planus in his or her mouth should be examined every 6 months to 12 months due to this chance of cancer.

space placeholder
space placeholder.Symptoms
space placeholder

There are six types of oral lichen planus. Each is characterized by distinct lesions:
  • Papular — White dots
  • Lacey — White lines
  • Plaquey — White patches
  • Erosive — Red lesions
  • Ulcerative — Beige lesions
  • Blistering — Fluid-filled blisters

The papular, lacey and plaquey types of lichen planus tend to be painless. The other types are often painful. It is common for a person to have more than one type.

About one-third of the time, people with lichen planus in the mouth also have lichen planus on their skin. Skin lesions are flat and purplish. They have a scaly texture. The lesions can be itchy.

space placeholder
space placeholder.Diagnosis
space placeholder

Many other illnesses may act like lichen planus. Your doctor should do a biopsy to diagnose this condition. In a biopsy, a small piece of tissue is removed and examined in a laboratory. The doctor also may order a blood test to check for hepatitis.

space placeholder
space placeholder.Expected Duration
space placeholder

Many lichen planus lesions on the skin go away without treatment. This can take a few years. However, lichen planus lesions in the mouth tend to last much longer. Some also go away on their own. If lichen planus is caused by a chemical, stopping contact with that chemical may cause the lesions to heal.

space placeholder
space placeholder.Prevention
space placeholder

Because the exact cause of lichen planus is unknown, there is no way to prevent it.

space placeholder
space placeholder.Treatment
space placeholder

While there are no cures for lichen planus, many medicines can control the symptoms. The painless types of lichen planus usually do not need treatment. The other types are treated with steroids. These come as creams, gels, liquid rinses and sprays. If these medicines don't work, steroids can be injected into the lesion or taken by mouth. Other medicines that may help include retinoids (vitamin A) and some drugs that suppress the immune system.

space placeholder
space placeholder.When To Call a Professional
space placeholder

Call your dentist if you mouth is sore or you have any of the symptoms of lichen planus.

space placeholder
space placeholder.Prognosis
space placeholder

Skin lichen planus usually disappears over several years. Lichen planus in the mouth usually lasts much longer. Lichen planus in the mouth may come and go for no apparent reason. It also may show up in response to stress or new medicines.

space placeholder
space placeholder.Additional Info
space placeholder

American Academy of Dermatology
P.O. Box 4014
Shaumburg, IL 60168
Phone: 847-330-0230
Toll-Free: 1-866-503-SKIN (7546)
www.aad.org/

American Academy of Family Physicians
Consumer Information Site
11400 Tomahawk Creek Parkway
Leawood, KS 66211-2680
Toll-Free: 1-800-274-2237
E-Mail: contactcenter@aafp.org
www.familydoctor.org/

.
printer friendly format option iconPrinter-friendly version     
.
.
.
printer friendly format option iconPrinter-friendly version
 
......
Powered by Aetna Dental Plans

© 2002-2014 Aetna, Inc. All rights reserved. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult your physician before starting a new fitness regimen. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions. External website links provided on this site are meant for convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement. These external links open in a different window.