If you’ve ever experienced a canker sore, then you know how awful the discomfort can get when you have one — not to mention the fact that they last an average of two weeks and always seem to come back.
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do other than wait them out or numb them with an over-the-counter (OTC) cream. Unless, of course, you consider canker sore laser treatment.
To learn more about canker sore laser treatment and why we recommend it, keep reading!
What Exactly Is a Canker Sore?
Canker sores — also referred to as aphthous ulcers — are small and painful round or oval sores that appear on the inside of the mouth. They usually have yellow or white centers with red outlines, and they crop up on the lips, cheeks, gums, and tongue. They’re aptly named, too, since the root of the word comes from the Greek aphthae, which means “to set on fire.”
Fortunately, canker sores aren’t externally visible, so they’re not as embarrassing as cold sores (which appear around the mouth and usually directly on the lips.) They’re also not contagious, but they’re still painful and interfere with everyday functions like eating, talking, and enjoying life.
What Are the Causes and Symptoms of Canker Sores?
The truth is, the medical community doesn’t know exactly what causes canker sores. They can result from an injury — like when a person accidentally bites their cheek — or they can be triggered by a number of things, such as:
- Having a weak immune system
- Certain medications
- Hormonal shifts
- A diet lacking certain vitamins and minerals
- Food sensitivities
- Toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulfate
- Certain medical conditions like IBS, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, herpes, and HIV/AIDS
However, checking one or more of the above boxes doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll ever end up with a canker sore.
What to Do About Canker Sores
For some people, canker sores are hard to avoid. However, it’s possible to reduce the frequency of their emergence by doing the following:
- Keeping your mouth clean and free of excess foods by brushing and flossing after meals
- Using a soft toothbrush to prevent irritation to your mouth and gums
- Use orthodontic wax to cover any sharp edges on braces or other dental devices
- Reducing stress through exercise, medication, rest, and developing a healthier overall routine
- Keeping a food diary — which will allow you to make connections from when your canker sores appear and what you’ve eaten
- Avoiding common food triggers, such as salty, acidic, and spicy foods
- Ensuring you don’t become deficient in essential vitamins and minerals by following a healthy diet and taking supplements
- Avoiding toothpaste and mouthwash containing sodium lauryl sulfate and in some cases, alcohol as it can be drying
However, if you develop a canker sore that:
- Is unusually large or extends over the lip
- Is painful enough to get in the way of eating or drinking
- Causes you to develop a fever
- Lasts more than two weeks
You’ll want to get in touch with your primary care physician and dentist right away. It’s also important to note that most people who see recurring canker sores can expect to get them between two and three times per year. However, if you’re older and are getting canker sores for the first time, it may be an indication that there’s an underlying health issue that needs to be addressed.
Why Get Canker Sore Laser Treatment?
There are several home remedies used to treat canker sores, such as topical ointments, mouth rinses, and so on. However, dental laser treatment is a newer and much more effective way to get rid of canker sores — and they work with one single, painless visit to your dentist!
Here’s why dentists recommend the dental laser procedure for individuals with recurring canker sores:
It’s Proven to Heal the Sore and Get Rid of the Pain
Canker sore laser treatment is the only proven method that simultaneously heals canker sores and takes away the pain.
In some instances, canker sores crop up due to viral infection. The biostimulation of the laser used to treat them works to kill the viral bacteria while also cauterizing the open wound to prevent a new infection from taking over.
This method is much less painful compared to other professional treatments, such as freezing, as it only emits a warm and tingling sensation. It also effectively gets rid of the pain as it kills the bacteria causing the sore, so you’ll feel immediate relief once the procedure is over.
It Heals Canker Sores Much Faster
With OTC treatments and home remedies, canker sores will take up to two weeks to heal. A single dental laser treatment will cut that time down significantly, allowing the sore to heal within just two days.
It’ll Help Prevent Future Canker Sores
Individuals who see recurring canker sores often get them in the same place. This is especially true for those that deal with consistent irritation from braces, dentures, or other dental devices, as they tend to rub and create friction in the same places.
This also means that wherever the specific nerve ending or stressor is located in your mouth, the viral bacteria that lead to canker sores are always active. Because the dental laser “burns” the virus from the nerve ending or stressed area, it has the potential to permanently reverse canker sore formation in that area.
The same holds true for canker sores that are caused by friction and a virus as the laser seals off the nerve ending. Once the nerve ending is sealed off, the brain no longer registers the irritant, which means the physiological trigger to produce a sore is broken, so they can no longer form.
You Don’t Have to Suffer Through Canker Sores Anymore
While canker sores are mostly harmless, they are painful and annoying. Fortunately, with dental lasers, chronic canker sore sufferers no longer have to grin and bear the pain.
Wayzata Dentistry has the dental lasers for the job. Book an appointment with us today to consult with our dental specialists about your canker sores or other dental issues!