Canker Sores & Cold Sores

A canker sore is a painful, oftentimes small sore that can develop anywhere inside the mouth, also known as an aphthous ulcer. These are NOT contagious. They may appear as a single ulcer, or as a group, and have a wide variety of potential causes.

Some causes include:

  • Burning of the tissue from extremely hot temperature or acidity
  • Stress
  • Sharp teeth, braces, ill-fitting dentures
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Allergies
  • Underlying health condition


  • Small shallow round ulcer that is gray, white, or yellow and can be surrounded by redness
  • Painful sore that can appear anywhere in the mouth such as the tongue, gums, cheek, or palate
  • May have accompanying symptoms of sluggishness or lethargy, fever, diarrhea, joint/body pain, a rash, swollen lymph nodes


  • Canker sores typically clear on their own within 1-2 weeks. Pain should lessen as time goes on
  • A corticosteroid ointment or mouth rinse may be prescribed.
  • Over the counter solutions or warm salt-water rinses
  • Avoidance of foods that are acidic, hot, or spicy.

Cold sores are caused by Herpes Simplex Virus-1 and can appear inside or outside the mouth, as well as the lips. These ARE contagious. Typically, the first time you get a sore, there are multiple sores.


  • At the first sign of a cold sore, you should contact your doctor so that you can get a prescribed antiviral medication to help reduce the pain, duration, and frequency of the sores.
  • Sometimes these sores can be numbed and cured with a dental laser as well.
Canker Sores & Cold Sores

To find out more about which service options are best for you, please call (810) 687-5040 or request an appointment online.

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