Shingles is a viral infection that produces a painful rash. It can occur anywhere on the body, but most commonly manifests itself on the chest and back.
Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chicken pox. This virus lays inactive in the nerve tissue near the spinal cord and brain.
Shingles first causes patients to feel pain at a certain point of the body; this is followed by an irritating rash. Patients also feel headaches, fatigue and fever.
Shingles can manifest itself in and around the mouth. This will cause patients to feel extreme pain in the mouth in the days preceding the rash. After a few days of pain, sores will appear on either side of the mouth.
When shingles manifests itself in the mouth it is considered serious. The disease must be treated as a complex herpes infection. Even after the rash is cleared up, shingles can cause a patient to feel pain in the mouth for months, and possibly years after.