Problems Associated With Canker Sores
If you have experienced a canker sore, you know they can be as painful as they sound. Small sores that develop in the mouth, also known as aphthous ulcers, cankers can pop up at any time and are often a recurring problem for sufferers.
Canker sores usually clear up on their own within one to two weeks. However, while you have them, the pain associated can even affect how you chew and drink (to avoid inflaming the sore). And should you have multiple canker sores, or if the pain becomes intense, you should absolutely tell your dentist in order to obtain relief.
(NOTE: Canker sores are NOT cold sores, which are caused by the herpes virus and develop on the lips and are contagious.)
How do you know if it is a canker sore?
If a sore develops inside your mouth that is small, shallow, and symmetrical in appearance, and is sensitive to even the lightest touch, then you likely have a canker sore. Most canker sores have a white or yellow center or crown.
There are actually three levels of canker sores: minor, major, and herpetiform.
Minor canker sores usually go away on their own, and, while annoying, may not require any medical attention. Major sores, however, can be much larger, more intensely painful, last as long as six weeks, and even cause scarring. Herpetiform cankers develop later in life and appear in clusters of 10 to 100. (Despite the name herpetiform sores are still not caused by the herpes virus.)
What causes canker sores?
The exact reason canker sores develop is unknown, though hereditary factors, stress or tissue injury are each likely causes, though diet, tobacco use, and allergies may also be at fault.
Certain chronic diseases are also thought to lead to the development of canker sores. These health concerns include celiac disease, inflammatory bowel diseases (including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), Behcet’s disease, autoimmune disorders (including HIV/AIDS).
You can help guard against the formation of canker sores by reducing stress, practicing strong oral health habits, and eating a healthy diet. If you have braces or dental appliances, make sure that sharp edges are covered in wax.
Dental treatment of canker sores
The good news is that there are multiple treatments dental professionals can offer that make an immediate and significant difference to canker sores.
These include mouth-rinses that offer numbing and sterilizing properties, topical numbing agents, and – in the instances of more severe outbreaks – oral medications and even cauterization in which the dentist may burn, sear, or destroy the sore tissue. Most excitingly, developments in laser dentistry techniques also allow us to utilize this new tool, known as the “ezlase,” which provides significant relief with increased healing time. The dental laser can also relieve pain caused by cold sores or fever blisters.
Do not put up with canker sores
At BGW we know it’s hard to have a bright smile when you’re in pain. We have solutions through our general dentistry practice to help rid you of the pain of cankers. Let us target your canker sores and help oral tissues regenerate and heal faster.