Over the last few months we’ve had a number of patients ask our dental care team about problems with mouth soreness and chapped lips. In particular, lips which have cracked, dried out and swollen up. One patient said she had been suffering for several weeks and none of the over-the-counter treatments like creams and ointments, lip seals, etc had worked. Not only was the condition a little unsightly but as we all know, it is often painful.
One patient phoned the dental office and asked;
“What was the cause of her swollen and cracked lips? They were very sore and they were not healing normally.”
She had tried several ointments and creams but none of them had successfully reduced the soreness or swelling around her mouth.
The Dental Care Team Advised:
When lips become sore and swollen (chronically) and the typical treatments (ointments and creams) are not working, it is best to get a professional opinion. It is important to make sure there is nothing seriously wrong and it is just a simple case of chapping of the lips. Seeing your dentist is the first and most important step to take. There is no need for any embarrassment or thinking it must be so trivial and not to waste a dentist’s time.
Swollen lips and dryness of the mouth is normally a minor inconvenience and it is important to state that immediately. However, if the symptoms persist and become severe over several weeks there can be a more serious problem at hand. One which will need attention and treatment. In these rarer cases, the symptoms can be caused by viral or fungal infections, allergy (i.e. chronic urticaria), auto-immune (erythema multiforme, Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome, sarcoidosis, or Crohn’s disease), benign or malignant tumors. Indeed, it is best to be on the safe side and make an appointment with your dentist at the earliest opportunity.
In summary, you should ask your dentist for a formal diagnosis. Normally, all is easily treated, bringing relief to you suffering pain and further discomfort. If the dentist is unable to identify the exact cause, he or she may refer you to a specialist (normally an oral pathologist) for a closer examination and some further tests.
Don’t be afraid to ask your dentist is the motto.