• Blog >
  • That Odd Looking Sore in Your Mouth is No Cause for Alarm
RSS Feed

That Odd Looking Sore in Your Mouth is No Cause for Alarm

ThatOddLookingSoreinYourMouthisNoCauseforAlarm

When you visit us for your regular checkup we're examining more than your teeth and gums. We're also checking to see if you're having problems with soft tissues in and around your mouth.

Besides canker sores, rashes or other types of abnormalities, our exam may uncover strange looking lesions known as lichen planus on the inside of the mouth. These purple-tinted bumps or rash-like discolorations are named for their similarity in appearance to lichen fungi found on trees or rocks. Although these mouth sores may look odd, they're fairly rare and usually do not cause concern.

Most people don't even know they have lichen planus until it's discovered during a dental exam. If there are any symptoms, it's usually a feeling of roughness, tenderness or itching. They may increase your sensitivity to spicy or acidic foods, but rarely cause extreme pain. If they're located around the gums, you may also notice a little soreness after brushing or eating.

To confirm it is lichen planus, we need to perform a biopsy. During this procedure, we remove a tiny amount of the affected tissue and have it examined microscopically. We do this not only to determine the correct diagnosis, but also to rule out more serious problems like pre-cancerous lesions or oral cancer.

Thankfully, though, this worst case scenario is quite rare, and although the condition can't be cured, there are some things you can do to keep any discomfort to a minimum. If the lesions are irritating, we recommend using a soft toothbrush with gentle brushing action. You may also want to limit or avoid spicy or acidic foods like citrus, tomatoes, hot peppers and caffeinated drinks. Managing stress can also help. For some extreme conditions, we can prescribe a topical steroid to help relieve discomfort.

If you notice any of the above symptoms, be sure to contact us or point it out at your next appointment. Once we know what we're dealing with, we can take steps to treat you.

If you would like more information on different types of mouth sores, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Lichen Planus.”

Our Location

Find us on the map

Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

9:00 am-8:00 pm

Wednesday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Thursday:

9:00 am-8:00 pm

Friday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

By Appointment

Sunday:

By Appointment

Testimonials

What Our Patients Say About Us

  • "Smile Café lives up to its name. Even during these uncertain times you leave the office with a smile on your face. Kind staff, efficient, orderly. Thank you all and continue to remain safe!"
    Diana O. - May 21, 2020
  • "The staff is always great as well as the work and care they have done is the best dental service I have ever gotten."
    Michael S. - Apr 24, 2020
  • "The doctors really made me feel comfortable, they educated me while I was there and had real convos with me. Told me my whole eating history."
    Brandon W. - Apr 16, 2020
  • "The Smile Cafe really came through on service, quality and always a friendly demeanor."
    Mark R. - Mar 6, 2020
  • "My experience here was super relaxing and everyone was so friendly. The energy of the place really calmed me down so I can conquer my fear of the dentist and get the smile I want."
    Alexandra T. - Mar 4, 2020