What Are the Symptoms of Lichen Planus of the Mouth?

The most common symptoms of lichen planus of the mouth, also known as oral lichen planus, are pain, inflammation, redness, sores and the appearance of white, lace-like patches on the inner cheek surface, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Symptoms may also present on the lips, gums or tongue.

Oral lichen planus, a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder, may cause a dulled sense of taste and a decreased tolerance for hot food and spicy dishes, reports Mayo Clinic. Gum inflammation and pain or bleeding when brushing may also occur. Oral lichen planus often occurs in conjunction with lichen planus infections on other parts of the body, such as the skin, genitals, ears and scalp. The most common symptom of such infections is the presence of red or purple lesions in the affected area. Lichen planus of the eyes, nails or esophagus, all of which are very rare forms of the condition, may accompany oral lichen planus.

Treatment regimens for oral lichen planus manage the symptoms of the condition rather than cure them, notes Mayo Clinic. Treatment options include oral or topical corticosteroids to counter swelling and inflammation and topical pain relief ointments. In extreme cases where the disorder is affecting multiple parts of the body in addition to the mouth, a doctor may prescribe topical immunosuppressant medications, such as Protopic, to treat sores, relieve pain and lessen the severity of the condition.