Oral Lichen Planus (OLP)
Oral lichen planus (OLP, also called mucosal lichen planus) is a chronic inflammatory disease involving the lining of the mouth, the oral mucosa.
The main sub-types recognised for OLP are:
- Reticular: the most common presentation, characterised by the net-like appearance of lacy white lines. This is usually asymptomatic.
- Erosive: the second most common form, characterised by oral ulcers with persistent, irregular areas of redness (redness), ulcerations and erosions covered with a yellow slough, also appearing as fluid-filled vesicles which project from the surface. This can occur in one or more areas of the mouth. In 25% of people with erosive oral lichen planus, the gums are also involved (desquamative gingivitis).
Symptoms are various ranging from a mild burning sensation to intense pain, interference with speaking and difficulties during eating and swallowing.
Oral lichen planus is a relatively common disease and occurs in 1-2% of the population, with a marked female predilection. It usually affects middle-aged adults in the fifth to sixth decades, but may develop in individuals of any age.
The cause of lichen planus is unknown but it seems to be an immunologically mediated process, probably in response to antigenic stimuli. Therefore treatment is generally non-specific and aimed at alleviating symptoms.
More detailed information can be seen here on Medscape.