Symptoms of a canker sore
At the onset of a canker sores, some people experience tingling or burning in the mouth before the actual sore appears. Usually, a small red bump will appear, and within a day or so, this bump will break open, leaving a shallow white or yellowish sore with a red border. The open sores are often painful. Occasionally, a fever may occur and the person reports feeling sluggish and uncomfortable.
Canker sores are usually small, but can get up to 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter, and are usually round or oval with a yellowish center and red border. They are painful, sensitive to touch, and make eating (especially spicy or salty foods) uncomfortable. However, the pain of canker sores usually diminishes in 7 to 10 days, with complete healing in 1 to 3 weeks. Especially large ulcers (more than 1 cm in diameter) can take longer to heal (2 to 4 weeks). Occasionally, a severe occurrence may be accompanied by nonspecific symptoms of illness, such as fever. People who are susceptible to canker sores may have recurring episodes but these generally decrease as the person gets older. The main symptoms and characteristics of a canker sore include the following:
When to seek help
Check with your doctor or dentist if you have unusually large or painful canker sores or canker sores that don't seem to heal. Consult your dentist if you have sharp tooth surfaces or dental appliances that seem to trigger the sores. If you have a cold sore that does not heal, also see your doctor. See your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room right away if you have any trouble breathing. Consult your doctor if you experience:
If symptoms of a canker sore last more than a few weeks or if you experience any of the symptoms listed above, see a doctor. This way, s/he can make a proper diagnosis as to whether or not you have canker sores. To learn more about how your doctor will make the diagnosis, read the next section on Diagnosing Canker Sore now.
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