Canker sores, medically known as aphthous stomatitis, are one of the most common types of mouth lesions. According to the studies, almost 20% of the North American population develops canker sores at least once in their lifetime. In fact, their rate of incidence is now said to be increasing to 50% in certain groups of the population.
The causes of canker sores are multifactorial, but it is mostly the result of inflammation due to a bacterial or viral infection. The painful blisters appear on the tongue, gums, insides of the cheeks, lips, and at the back of the throat.
It is to be noted that canker sores are not the same as cold sores. Unlike cold sores, canker sores are not contagious, and when treated properly, they heal within 2 to 4 weeks.
There are three types of canker sores:
Minor Canker Sores
Minor canker sores are the most common type of canker sores. Sometimes, 2 to 4 minor canker sores can develop at the same time. Minor canker sores are usually small. They can be between 3 to millimeters in size. The edges of the minor canker sores are red, and the insides are either grey or white. These minor canker sores can heal within 10 to 14 days and do not leave behind any scars or marks.
Major Canker Sores
Major canker sores are not as common as minor canker sores. The major canker sores are usually larger and can be bigger than 10 millimeters in size. Even though major canker sores are usually round in shape and have a well-defined border, the edges may appear irregular and very large in size. The major canker sores are a lot deeper and are more painful than minor canker sores. They can inflame the area and cause it to become red. Even eating simple foods and drinking water can cause extreme pain and discomfort when you have major canker sores. The major canker sores can take more than 6 weeks to heal completely. And even after complete recovery, they can leave behind deep scars.
Herpetiform Canker Sores
Herpetiform canker sores are rather rare. It is usually in the later years of life that some people are affected by herpetiform canker sores. The name can seem misleading, but it is important to note that herpetiform canker sores are not the result of a herpes virus infection. The herpetiform canker sores are like a small spot, usually between 2 to 3 millimeters in size. But they often develop in a cluster form. One cluster could have 10 to 100 canker sores. When these small sores merge together, they form one large ulcer in the mouth. The herpetiform canker sores have irregular edges. The good news is that herpetiform canker sores can heal within 10 to 14 days and do not leave behind any scars or marks.
If you are noticing any one of the above types of canker sores on your lips, gums, tongue, insides of the cheeks, or at the back of your throat, then visit us at North Atlanta Family Dentistry and get examined by our doctors. Dr. Sandra L. Vargas and can help you treat your canker sores.