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Canker Sores: What Exactly Are They?

Published on October 28th, 2019

If you’ve ever had a canker sore, you understand that they can be very painful and affect your ability to comfortably eat, drink, talk, and brush your teeth. At your dentist in South Loop, we understand these small sores can be annoying, so we’re here to help you understand what they are and where they come from.


Canker sores tend to be a round or oval shape with a white or yellow center and red edges. These sores form inside your mouth, and sometimes cause a burning and tingling sensation in the days before the actual sore appears.

Types of Canker Sores

  1. Minor Canker Sores

Minor canker sores are the most common type and are small, oval-shaped, and heal without scarring in one to two weeks.

  1. Major Canker Sores

Major canker sores are large, deep, and usually round with defined borders. These types can be extremely painful and take up to six weeks to heal, often with extensive scarring.

  1. Herpetiform Canker Sores

These canker sores are uncommon and usually develop later in life. These canker sores are pinpoint size and often occur in clusters of 10 to 100 sores. If you believe you’re experiencing Herpetiform canker sores, contact your dentist in South Loop.

How do canker sores form?

There are many potential causes for canker sores, one common cause being a minor injury to the mouth from dental work, hard brushing, sports, or accidentally biting your cheek. Another example would be food sensitivities to chocolate, coffee, strawberries, eggs, nuts, or spicy foods. Certain conditions such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and Behcet’s disease can cause canker sores.

For more information on canker sores, or to schedule an appointment, contact your dentist in South Loop at SW Loop Dental.

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