A canker sore is a small, painful lesion that develops inside the mouth. They can typically be found on or under the tongue, inside your cheek or lip, at the base of the gums, or on the soft palate. They consist of white or gray sores with a red border and are often preceded by tingling or burning sensations. Canker sores are often confused with cold sores, which present around the outside of the mouth or on the lips in small clusters of blisters that burst and then crust over. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are contagious. Canker sores, on the other hand, are not contagious and do not appear on the outside of the mouth.
The exact cause of canker sores is unknown, but there are several factors which may trigger their development, including:
Although cold and canker sores may be painful at first, this discomfort should lessen within the first few days, and the lesion should heal without treatment in one to two weeks. If your canker or cold sore is persistent, unusually large or extremely painful, or if the sores appear to be spreading, our dentists may recommend corticosteroid ointment, an antimicrobial mouthrinse or a laser treatment. Over-the-counter medications may also be recommended to reduce pain and irritation.
We also recommend that you rinse your mouth with a warm water solution and avoid eating acidic, citrus or spicy foods that may irritate the ulcer.
If you have any questions about cold or canker sore treatment or wish to make an appointment with our caring dentists, please contact our office today.