Wow That Hurts!

Have you ever noticed that every once in a while you get a little white or reddish spot that really hurts? We usually call these canker sores. In general they all look similar but, in fact, they are usually one of these different types of lesion: Apthous Ulcers, Traumatic Ulcers, or Herpes Simplex.

With Apthous ulcer you may see one or hundreds of them. They may last I0-14 days and are extremely uncomfortable. They also tend to be small (2-3 mm) but may be several centimeters in diameter.

I see traumatic ulcers almost weekly in my practice. Most of them are self-inflicted by brushing, biting, or burning an area of the mouth. Sometimes it takes a few days for the ulcer to develop and the casual incident may not even be remembered, they can be found on all oral tissues.

The last common lesion is Herpes Simplex. This is actually a viral infection which usually originates during childhood. Eighty percent of the time, the first exposure is not even remembered by the patient. This virus lies dormant in the nerve pathways, giving us “fever blisters”, along with lesions in the mouth.

All suspicious lesions should be examined by your dentist.


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