Oral sores are no fun. They sting, they’re hideous, and they make it hard to be confident in your smile. What most people don’t know is that there are different kinds of sores, each with their own distinct causes. Understanding the differences between them can help you take the right treatment actions. Read on to find out more about the three common types of sores from an emergency dentist in San Antonio.
These are small red blisters that usually appear near or on the lips. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus, which is spread through contact between an infected area and your mouth. It’s possible to spread this virus without symptoms, and it is estimated that 50-80 percent of the population has it.
If you’ve ever seen a small white spot in your mouth the stings when you touch it, you’ve probably had a canker sore. They are also known as aphthous ulcers and they appear after the continuous soft tissue lining of your mouth is broken. There’s no single agreed upon cause for canker sores, but scientists have found that stress, acidic diets, vitamin deficiencies, and rough brushing habits play a role in causing them to form.
Oral cancer, like other forms of cancer, is an abnormal growth of cells. It begins as a series of red and white patches in the mouth and grows larger over time, spreading and disrupting other body processes. While the exact cause is unknown, there are factors that make an individual more likely to get it. These include smoking, excessive drinking, and a family history of cancer.
What Are The Warning Signs of Each Sore?
Cold sores are often preceded by a tingling and burning sensation in the area where the will emerge. A fever, sore throat, and body ache have also been reported prior to an outbreak.
Canker sores don’t provide obvious signs. At most, the area where the sore is forming may tingle and be sensitive to touch.
For oral cancer, the sores can be accompanied by a pain in your ear, along with swelling and an irritating sensation in your mouth and throat.
How Can I Treat Oral Sores?
Most cases of cold sores and canker sores are not dental emergencies. Cold sores will actually heal on their own within two to six weeks of appearing. Outbreaks can be treated with over-the-counter creams such as Denavir and Abreva. If outbreaks are very frequent or cause other complications, then your doctor can prescribe drugs such as Valtrex and Famvir to make them more manageable.
In most cases, canker sores will actually heal on their own within two weeks of their first appearance. Rinsing daily with salt water has been shown to speed up the healing process. For pain, over-the-counter medications such as Anbesol can be used.
There is no way to treat oral cancer at home. The best way to determine if you have it is to keep an eye on suspicious sores in your mouth. If they don’t heal by themselves in two weeks, then you need to call your dentist so they order the proper tests to determine if the sore is cancerous.
Oral sores are a nuisance, so use this information to identify what kind you may be facing and what treatment steps you need to take. If you’re ever unsure, reach out to your dentist in San Antonio and they will be able to provide you with the proper care.
About the Author
Dr. Justin Gonzales completed dental school at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Through years of experience and continuing education, he has learned how to identify and treat oral sores before they become significant issues. If you have concerns about a sore in your mouth, you can reach him at his website or at 210-737-6900.