Oral Lichen Planus Symptoms
Providing Patient Care In The San Francisco
Bay Area Since 1996
Lichen planus is a chronic, autoimmune condition that can affect the mucous membrane lining the oral cavity. In some cases it also affects the skin and or other mucous membranes. In the mouth it can present as white changes, red changes and ulcerations.
The cause of lichen planus in most cases is unknown. Some environmental exposures such as medications can cause oral changes that may resemble lichen planus. In addition, some studies have found an association between oral lichen planus and Hepatitis C virus infection, however this has not been consistently seen in all studies and the significance of this association is still being investigated in research studies.
Symptoms from oral lichen planus may range from none to extreme oral discomfort, including soreness and sensitivity to spicy and/or acidic foods. Typically the atrophic and ulcerative oral lichen planus cases are associated with greater discomfort.
While there is no known cure for oral lichen planus, medications to reduce symptoms from oral lichen planus are available. The most commonly used medications include topical and systemic glucocorticosteroids. In addition, curcuminoids, which are extracts from the turmeric root can also help.
Yes, oral lichen planus is classified as a precancerous condition.
The most common type of oral cancer: Oral squamous cell carcinoma
The risk of oral squamous cell cancer in patients with oral lichen planus is thought to be increased, however the risk estimates have varied greatly between studies and populations. Patients with ulcerative forms of oral lichen planus are thought to have higher risks for development of oral squamous carcinoma as compared with atrophic or reticular forms of oral lichen planus.
a. You should quit tobacco use, betel nut use and gutka use
b. Limit alcohol intake
c. Increase intake of fruits and vegetables
d. You should also follow the additional recommendations from the American Institute of Cancer Research for prevention of cancer
Oral lichen planus is managed with use of medications if there is any discomfort associated with the oral lichen planus. In addition, regular oral examinations to monitor for and to enable early diagnosis of oral squamous cell carcinoma are recommended.
Yes, regular oral examinations are recommended for all patients with oral lichen planus.
Dr. Nita Chainani-Wu has extensive experience in the diagnosis and management of oral lichen planus including treatment of the symptoms with topical and systemic medications and monitoring for changes over time.
View Dr. Chainani-Wu’s publications on Lichen Planus:
Click Citations For More Information:
Chainani-Wu N, Collins K, Silverman S Jr. Use of curcuminoids in a cohort of
patients with oral lichen planus, an autoimmune disease. Phytomedicine. 2012 Mar
15;19(5):418-23. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2011.11.005. Epub 2012 Feb 2. PubMed PMID:
Chainani-Wu N, Madden E, Lozada-Nur F, Silverman S Jr. High-dose curcuminoids
are efficacious in the reduction in symptoms and signs of oral lichen planus. J
Am Acad Dermatol. 2012 May;66(5):752-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2011.04.022. Epub
2011 Sep 9. PubMed PMID: 21907450.
Chainani-Wu N, Silverman S Jr, Reingold A, Bostrom A, Lozada-Nur F, Weintraub
J. Validation of instruments to measure the symptoms and signs of oral lichen
planus. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2008 Jan;105(1):51-8.
PubMed PMID: 18155609.
Chainani-Wu N, Silverman S Jr, Reingold A, Bostrom A, Mc Culloch C,
Lozada-Nur F, Weintraub J. A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind
clinical trial of curcuminoids in oral lichen planus. Phytomedicine. 2007
Aug;14(7-8):437-46. Epub 2007 Jul 2. PubMed PMID: 17604143.
Chainani-Wu N, Silverman S Jr, Lozada-Nur F, Mayer P, Watson JJ. Oral lichen
planus: patient profile, disease progression and treatment responses. J Am Dent
Assoc. 2001 Jul;132(7):901-9. PubMed PMID: 11480643.