Canker Sores and Cold Sores: Rochester Dentist Explains the Difference

If you have ever dealt with cold sores or canker sores, you know how uncomfortable they can be. Canker sores can be particularly painful, and cold sores create sometimes unsightly ulcers on the outside of your mouth that can be quite embarrassing. Many people deal with these sores on a recurring basis. Dr. Janet Calcagno, your Rochester dentist, will explain more about what cold sores and canker sores are, and how to deal with them.

What is a Cold Sore?

Dr. Brad Rodd, professor from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, estimates that 20% to 30% of people deal with recurring cold sores. Many people refer to these unpleasant lesions as fever blisters. Cold sores are a result of the herpes simplex type 1 virus (cousin to herpes simplex type 2). Cold sores are contagious, but lie dormant for most of the time, flaring up when there is high stress, sun exposure, or even trauma to the direct area. These sometimes painful, red, fluid-containing lesions appear on the outside of your mouth, and generally last for around a week. Many people report cold sore flare ups after visiting the dentist, so if this tends to happen to you, let your dentist and hygienist know.

What are Canker Sores?

Aphthous ulcers, or canker sores, show up on the inside of the mouth and generally last for a maximum of two weeks. Tiny little spots that heal fairly quickly, canker sores can be uncomfortable enough to make eating and speaking difficult for a short time. The areas that you are likely to see a canker sore are your tongue, soft palate, floor of your mouth, inside lips, and inside cheeks. Exactly what causes canker sores is unknown, though they are believed to be exacerbated by stress. Occasionally, canker sores are connected to auto-immune conditions such as Crohn’s disease or Bechet’s disease.

Dental Concerns? Contact Your Rochester Dentist

If you present with an oral lesions that is unusual looking, extremely painful, or lasts for longer than two weeks, schedule an appointment with Dr. Calcagno. To contact our Rochester dentist office, call (507)281-3659. We serve patients in Rochester, Red Wing, St. Charles, Winona, Farmington, the 55902 zip code, and surrounding communities.