3 Potential Causes Of Painful Gingival Lesions

Posted on: 14 December 2015


Gingival lesions are open, blister-like sores that form on the soft tissue of your gums due to an underlying medical issue. The lesions can cause discomfort and threaten the health of the nearby teeth. Call your dentist as soon as gingival lesions for proper diagnosis and immediate treatment as at least one of the causes can prove fatal without intervention.

What are a few of the potential causes of gingival lesions – and how can your dentist help?

Lichen Planus

Lichen planus causes lesions that resemble welts or raised hives with alternating patches of white and red discoloration. The lesions can cause pain, swelling, and peeling away of the soft tissue. These lesions can be caused by an allergic reaction to medication or by a systemic illness.

Minor lichen planus will likely go away without intervention from your dentist. You can take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to help ease the pain while the lichen planus heals.

Severe or recurrent cases might require corticosteroid medications from your dentist as well as a soothing ointment to ease the pain until healing completes.

Pemphigus Vulgaris

Do the lesions inside your mouth look more like pus-filled white blisters? You could have the autoimmune condition pemphigus vulgaris, which causes your body to attack your skin. The mouth blisters can pop and cause painful, seeping lesions. You might also experience blisters elsewhere on your skin.

The treatments for pemphigus vulgaris include corticosteroids and antifungal medications. It is vital that you are diagnosed and treated early as pemphigus vulgaris can lead to fatal infections. Note that even with early diagnosis you might have to undergo medicinal treatment over a long period of time to ensure you are safe from the infections.

Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid

Mucous membrane pemphigold, or MMP, is an umbrella term covering a few different autoimmune conditions that can cause oral blisters or lesions. The lesions might heal without treatment but leave scarring and frequently return. Your gums will likely become quite red and can slough or peel off easily. Similar lesions might appear elsewhere on your body.

Due to the visual similarities between MMP and pemphigus vulgaris, you should make a dentist appointment as soon as you spot the first lesion to ensure that you receive the proper treatment as early as possible.

Treatments for MMP will vary depending on the severity and whether the blisters have spread elsewhere. Oral or topical corticosteroids are commonly prescribed to treat MMP as are some immunosuppressant drugs. Your dentist and general practitioner will likely ask to monitor your progress over an extended period of time to ensure that the symptoms of MMP are subsiding.