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Canker sores: they’re those pesky ulcers that form on the soft tissues inside your mouth. If you have one, here’s what you need to know:

-Canker sores are different from cold sores. Cold sores only develop on the surface of your lips and are contagious. Canker sores only form on the insides of the mouth and are not contagious.
-Minor canker sores are the most common. They are typically small and oval shaped with a red edge. They usually go away in one to two weeks.
-Major canker sores are rarer. They’re larger and deeper than minor canker sores. They usually are round with defined borders but can have irregular borders too. They can be very painful and can take up to six weeks to heal with extensive scarring.
-Herpetiform canker sores tend to appear in mid to old age. They are the size of pinpoints and usually happen in clusters of 10 to 100, or they may join together into one large ulcer. They have irregular edges. They usually heal without scarring in one to two weeks.
-Canker sores can be a side-effect of minor injuries, overactive brushing, certain kinds of toothpaste or mouth rinses, food sensitivities, a lack of certain minerals and vitamins, bacteria, hormonal shifts, stress, or certain types of disease and conditions.
-You’ll know when to see a doctor when your sores are abnormally huge, recurrent, unrelenting or extremely painful. Also, consider it if the sores impair your eating or drinking and are accompanied by a high fever.

If you have any questions about your canker sores not addressed here, please feel free to contact Dr. J. Richard Burch at KC Smile Doc in Kansas City, Missouri, by calling 816-822-0990.