Your doctor makes a diagnosis of oral lichen planus based on:

  • Discussion of your medical and dental history and the medications you're taking
  • Review of symptoms, including lesions in your mouth and any other places on your body
  • Examination of your mouth, and other areas as appropriate

He or she also may request lab tests such as:

  • Biopsy. A small tissue sample is taken from one or more lesions in your mouth and examined under a microscope to look for indications of oral lichen planus. Other more specialized microscopic tests may be needed to identify immune system proteins commonly associated with oral lichen planus.
  • Cultures. A sample of cells is taken from your mouth using a cotton swab. The sample is examined under a microscope to determine whether you have a secondary fungal, bacterial or viral infection.
  • Blood tests. These may be done to identify conditions such as hepatitis C, which may rarely be associated with oral lichen planus, and lupus, which may look similar to oral lichen planus.
March 12, 2016
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  2. Oral lichen planus. American Academy of Oral Medicine. http://www.aaom.com/oral-lichen-planus. Accessed Feb. 5, 2016.
  3. AskMayoExpert. Oral lichen planus. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
  4. Lichen planus. British Dental Health Foundation. https://www.dentalhealth.org/tell-me-about/topic/mouth-conditions/lichen-planus. Accessed Feb. 5, 2016.
  5. Lichen planus. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/rashes/lichen-planus. Accessed Feb. 5, 2016.
  6. Shirasuna K. Oral lichen planus: Malignant potential and diagnosis. Oral Science International. 2014;11:1.
  7. Au J, et al. Oral lichen planus. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Clinics of North America. 2013;25:93.
  8. Mirowski GW, et al. Oral lichen planus: Pathogenesis, clinical features, and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 5, 2016.
  9. Mirowski GW, et al. Oral lichen planus: Management and prognosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 5, 2016.
  10. Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 16, 2016.