Canker Sores and Cold Sores

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Canker Sores and Cold Sores

Canker sores and cold sores are two types of uncomfortable sores that occur in and around the mouth. Although they are quite different, many people get them confused. The good news is we can diagnose both and start you on the right treatment.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are a kind of ulcer. They form in the mouth, sometimes making eating and talking difficult. Canker sores come in two types: simple and complex.

Simple canker sores are common for teens and young adults. They tend to reoccur, often appearing three to four times a year. Although no one knows for sure the cause of canker sores, medical professionals believe that they are likely due to stress or tissue injury, such as from wearing braces or using poorly-fitted dentures.

Complex canker sores are rarer. They tend to be caused by health problems like an impaired immune system, a deficiency of vitamin B12, iron, zinc, or folic acid, and gastrointestinal diseases.

Canker sores tend to stop being painful after a few days. They disappear after a week or two. However, if canker sores become too painful or fail to clear up on their own, we can provide laser treatment for instant relief.

Cold Sores

Cold sores are blisters rather than ulcers. They form near the mouth — around the lips, under the nose, or on the chin. They are caused by a virus and they are contagious. Cold sores may appear when you are stressed, you have a fever, or even when you spend time in the sun. They tend to occur anywhere between twice a year to every month.

You may be able to treat cold sores with over-the-counter medications. If these fail, we can prescribe an antiviral cream.

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