Cold Sores & Cankers Are No Fun, Let Us Help | Chapel Hill Dental

Cold Sores & Cankers


What Are Cold Sores?

Cold sores are no fun. They can be painful, itchy, unsightly, or even all three of those things at once! Cold sores are caused by the herpesvirus and can manifest themselves through lesions that erupt around the mouth.

These lesions are often triggered by some sort of irritant, such as wind, sun, fever, or even stress. Once you've been infected with herpes, the virus stays in your body and flare ups can come back over and over.

How Does Chapel Hill Dental Treat Cold Sores?

Thanks to our KaVo Key III laser, at Chapel Hill Dental we're able to help manage cold sore outbreaks before or after they appear. The laser works by emitting controlled heat to the affected area, killing the virus that caused the breakout and triggering your body to start healing itself right away. If we're lucky enough to catch the cold sore before it becomes inflamed, the effects of the breakout can be greatly minimized.

The Difference Between Cankers and Cold Sores

Patients often confuse cankers and cold sores, when in reality the two are completely separate from one another. First of all, cankers only appear inside the mouth, whereas cold sores are on the outside, around the lips and chin. And unlike cold sores, cankers are not caused by the herpesvirus and are not contagious. In fact, we don't exactly know why some of us have cankers while others don't.

What we do know is that cankers are often triggered by an irritant in the mouth, for example a sharp tooth or a dental appliance (braces, dentures, night guards, etc.) that rubs against the mouth's lining. Cankers have also been known to be triggered by acidic foods like lemons, grapefruits, and oranges.

Symptoms of Cankers

  • Tingling sensation before the canker appears
  • A tender or painful depression or shallow circular spot in the mouth's lining
  • Inflammation on the mouth's ceiling or walls
  • A fever that coincides with a new sore inside the mouth

How To Get Rid of a Canker?

Although cankers will typically disappear on their own within a week or two, the laser treatments we offer at Chapel Hill Dental can help alleviate symptoms immediately.

So if you notice that your sores are spreading or if they are causing you pain, fever, or difficulty eating or drinking, contact us right away.


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