Mouth ulcer is an open lesion or a canker sore that forms in the mouth. Although it is painful and uncomfortable, a mouth ulcer is usually harmless and resolves without any treatment in one ortwo weeks. However, if the mouth ulcers are present for more than three weeks, then medical help may be necessary. Mouth ulcers usually form inside the mouth on the regions of the cheeks, lips, back portion of the roof of the mouth or on the tongue. Mouth ulcers may be single or multiple, may grow in sizeand spread in the mouth.
Based on the size and severity, the mouth ulcers are classified into the following three types:
Mouth ulcers are different from cold sores (tiny blisters) that develop on the lips or around the mouth. Cold sores usually begin with a tingling and burning sensation.
Mouth ulcer appears to be round and is white, yellowish or grey in color with a red border. If severe mouth ulcers are present, the following symptoms may be evident:
If the above symptoms are present, then consult the dentist for evaluation and treatment.
The exact cause of mouth ulcers is not known. However, some of the common factors which may aggravate mouth ulcers include:
Mouth ulcers can also occur as a symptom of certain viral infections which are more common in children.
The following complications may develop if mouth ulcers are not treated on time:
Usually the dentist performs examines the oral cavity to find the location of mouth ulcers. If you have severe mouth ulcers which has not healed over a long period of time, you may be prescribed few tests to determine any underlying medical condition that may have caused mouth ulcers.
Mouth ulcers are self-limiting and usually disappear in one or two weeks. However, treatment is necessary if they persist beyond 3 weeks and may include the following:
The following self-care measures can help to enhance the healing of mouth ulcers and prevent them from recurring:
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