If you have a mouth sore that lasts more than a week or two; it is critical to come in for an exam. Mouth sores can be an indicator of disease, and an early assessment assists in preventing more serious problems. If necessary, vital treatment and pain relief can be offered. In extreme cases, I will refer you to a medical professional specializing in diseases that can cause mouth sores.
There are two types of common mouth sores: canker sores and cold sores.
Canker sores are small ulcer-like sores with a white or gray base and a red border. They are found on the inside of the mouth and while they are not contagious, they can be painful. Typically a canker sore heals in a week or two.Using anti-microbial mouth rinses and over-the-counter topical anesthetics, and avoiding spicy or acidic foods helps relieve symptoms as you heal.
The cause of canker sores is not certain. Possible explanations include: a cut on the inside of the mouth, a reaction to extreme temperatures, acids from food or drink, fatigue, stress, and allergies. Some studies point to bacteria or a virus, or combinations of all these factors.
Cold sores, also called fever blisters or Herpes Simplex, are groups of fluid-filled blisters that appear around the lips, sometimes appearing under the nose or around the chin. Cold sores are contagious and painful, but usually heal in about a week. Some over-the-counter anesthetics provide relief.
There are innovative antiviral drugs on the market that have shown promise in reducing outbreaks, but there is currently no known cure. The initial infection, known as primary herpes, often occurs before adulthood. Once the virus infects you, it may stay in your body and remain inactive or cause occasional cold sore outbreaks. Outbreaks may be triggered by a fever, sunburn, skin abrasions, stress, or exposure to extremes in temperature.
In some cases, a change in the way you care for your mouth reduces the frequency of mouth sores. If you are in the Missoula, area and would like to talk to a dental professional about mouth sores, give us a call at Felton Dental Care – Dr. Brett R. Felton, DMD to schedule an examination.
Our number is 406-728-0896.