What are Canker Sores (Apthous Ulcers)?
Canker Sores, are small, shallow ulcers that can appear in the mouth and make speaking and eating very uncomfortable. They can range in size and may also appear in multiple areas at the same or varying times.
What causes Canker Sores?
The exact cause of canker sores is unknown; however, they often appear as a result of stress or tissue injury (i.e. from a sharp tooth or dental appliance, braces, ill fitting dentures or even the bristles of a tooth brush). Sometimes certain spices or acidic foods or beverages can trigger a sore or make them worse. In some cases, canker sores are caused by an underlying health condition or compromised immune system. Other factors may include nutritional deficiencies and gastrointestinal tract disease.
What are the symptoms of Canker Sores?
Symptoms of a canker sore may include:
- A painful sore or sores inside your mouth – on your tongue, on the roof of your mouth, or inside your cheeks
- A tingling or burning sensation prior to the appearance of the sores
- Sores in your mouth that are round, white, or gray in color, with a red edge or border
In the case of a severe canker sore attack, you may also experience:
- Physical sluggishness
- Swollen lymph nodes
How are Canker Sores treated?
Any pain from a canker sore will start to diminish after a few to several days, and the sores usually heal without treatment in about a week or two.
Sometimes an antimicrobial mouth rinse may be prescribed, or a corticosteroid ointment, or a prescription or nonprescription solution to reduce the pain and irritation. However, a more direct and immediate way of treating the sore and relieving discomfort is through the use of a dental soft tissue laser. This treatment is quick, comfortable, inexpensive, and incredibly effective. Through biostimulation, using light energy, we can relieve discomfort, by sealing off nerve endings, and promote faster healing. Theses sores can be treated without the use of anesthesia.
Can Canker Sores be prevented?
Although there is no cure for canker sores and they often reoccur, you may be able to reduce their frequency by:
- Avoiding foods that irritate your mouth – including acidic or spicy foods
- Avoiding irritation from gum chewing
- Brushing with a soft-bristled brush after meals and flossing daily, which will keep your mouth free of foods that might trigger a sore.
You should call your dentist about canker sores if you have:
- Unusually large sores
- Sores that are spreading
- Sores that last 3 weeks or longer
- Intolerable pain despite avoiding trigger foods and taking over-the-counter pain medication
- Difficulty drinking enough fluids
- A high fever with the appearance of the canker sore(s)
What are the benefits of using a laser in treating Canker Sores?
- It is high tech, yet affordable, and often covered by your insurance
- Laser energy destroys the virus that causes the sore
- Relief is immediate and profound
- Help prevent sores if treated once the lip starts tingling
- Arrests the progression of the lesion after treatment
- Faster healing without any further discomfort through photo-biostimulation
- Treatment takes just a few minutes and without anesthesia
After treatment, sores reoccur with less intensity and frequency at the same location