Is this a cold sore or a canker sore? Both can be annoying and painful, but there are a few key differences between canker sores and cold sores. This week, the Walden Dentistry team gives you the inside scoop on how to identify and treat canker sores.


Canker Sore vs. Cold Sore: Where Is It?

So what is the difference between a canker sore and a cold sore? The first question you have to answer is, “Where is the sore located?” Cold sores form as small, raised bumps on the lip; whereas canker sores are more crater-like and indented. They usually appear on the inside of your cheeks, lips or around your gums. As a general rule of thumb, if it’s inside your mouth, it’s more likely a canker sore; if it’s outside your mouth, it’s more likely to be a cold sore.

About Canker Sores

OK, so now you’ve identified that you have a canker sore on the inside of your mouth. What do you need to know about it? First, it’s not contagious like cold sores can be. Second, the majority of canker sores are mild, less than 1/3 of an inch in length and able to heal on their own after just a few weeks. If you are experiencing bleeding gums with your canker sore, you should see a dentist to be checked for possible gum disease. Bleeding gums are not a symptom of canker sores.

Where Do They Come From?

Dentists and doctors still are not sure where cankor sores come from or how they are caused but there are a few circumstances that make them more likely: an allergic reaction to bacteria in the mouth; a minor injury to the inside of the mouth due to dental work or poorly fitting dental appliances; food allergies or health problems, such as celiac disease and inflammatory bowel diseases.

What If My Canker Sore Won’t Go Away?

If your canker sore is more than about 10 millimeters in length and doesn’t seem to be healing after a month, you may be dealing with a more serious instance of a canker sore: a major apthous ulcer. These ulcers are most common in young adults just after puberty and older adults who have oral lesions. These larger canker sores are likely to come back, and treatment may be required to heal them.

If you’re tired of the pain and discomfort of a large canker sore, give us a call at (480) 755-1661 in Chandler to schedule a quick consultation.

What Will Dr. Walden Do To Treat My Cankor Sore?

If your canker sore continues to bug you and it does not heal after a month or so, you’ll want to see a dentist about getting it taken care of. Dr. Walden will examine the sore, and we’ll most likely prescribe an antibiotic mouth rinse, topical paste to apply to the lesion, or a nutritional supplement if poor nutrition may be the cause of the canker sore. Avoid the discomfort and annoyance of cankor sores– give us a call today!