Canker sores hurt. Also known as mouth ulcers, these red or yellow craters can cause sharp, stabbing pain.

The pain is like no other and plagues even the toughest kid when a canker sore decides to erupt. One of the most frustrating things about canker sores is that even though we know some contributing factors, it remains largely unclear how they are caused. A lot of people don’t know where to turn for relief of the pain associated with the canker sore and treatment of the sore itself.

At South Davis Pediatric Dentistry, parents ask us all the time how to treat a child’s canker sore. There are many different types of over-the-counter treatments you can buy at any local pharmacy that do a pretty good job of healing up the canker sore and reducing some of the pain. However, it’s truly a hit or miss, as many people do not respond to these remedies.

Modern technology has changed the dental care industry from the way that dental professionals find local work to the equipment you find at the dentist’s office. We pride ourselves in staying on top of the latest, which is why we have invested in CO² laser technology which allows us to go above and beyond and even heal a cold sore if needed. Dr. Jason Horgesheimer talks about this laser treatment of canker sores and mouth ulcers in more detail in the following video…

We are going to review the possible causes of canker sores and how they can be treated using pediatric laser dentistry.

What are Canker Sores?

Canker sores are commonly known as mouth ulcers but their technical term is aphthous ulcers. These small lesions erupt inside of the mouth or around the gum tissue and they can cause pain during the most insignificant actions, such as:

  • Talking
  • Smiling
  • Eating
  • Drinking

It’s important to make the distinction that canker sores are not the same as cold sores. Thus, do not respond to the same types of treatments as do cold sores. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. The causes are not exactly known for canker sores, but we do know some of the contributing factors which we will list below. Canker sores occur inside of the mouth and on top of the gum tissue, where cold sores occur on the outside surface of your lips. Cold sores are contagious. Canker sores are not contagious. However, similar to the length of a cold sore, a canker sore also is known to last somewhere between seven and 14 days. Any child or adult can get a canker sore.

What Factors Contribute to the Development of a Canker Sore?

While it’s impossible to pinpoint the exact cause of your child’s canker sore, there are some factors that may contribute to the development of these pesky buggers, including:

  • Stress
  • Acidic foods
  • Trauma to the mouth tissues caused by biting, over-intensive brushing, eating, or dental work
  • Allergies to specific ingredients in certain foods and drinks
  • Toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate

However, there are some instances in which a person is particularly prone to the development of mouth ulcers or they last for extended periods of time, which may be indicative of an underlying health issue, such as:

  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Other gastrointestinal disorders
  • Impaired immune system
  • A diet lacking in vitamins B12, folic acid, iron, or zinc

What are Common Treatments for Canker Sores?

Typically, a canker sore will resolve by itself within about seven to 14 days. However, they can still be very painful and annoying, especially in young children. Most people will seek out treatment to either shorten the duration or to help ease the pain associated with mouth ulcers.

As mentioned above, our dentists will often recommend parents pick up an over-the-counter treatment to help reduce the pain and duration of the canker sore. However, these pharmacy treatments are not a one-size-fits-all approach, and there are varying degrees of success reported to us by patients using such remedies. Many patients complain that the options work for only a couple of minutes, or not at all.

How Laser Treatment for Canker Sores Clears Them Instantly

At South Davis Pediatric Dentistry, we’ve found that our modern CO2 laser dentistry tools allow us to basically close off a canker sore or mouth ulcer through cauterization. Parents rely on their dentists to help treat their children’s oral health needs. When a child has a canker sore, the pain experienced is intense. These laser treatments have been proven to reduce or eliminate the pain associated with a canker sore.

Parents love coming to us for the pediatric laser treatments we provide that can treat canker sores and give the child instant relief from the pain and sensitivity caused by mouth ulcers. Our trusted pediatric dentists use a CO2 laser to close off the sore. This method is proven effective at treating the sore and providing fast healing times and causing a huge reduction in pain. Unlike other laser treatments, the CO2 laser tool vaporizes the tissue surrounding the sore, which also serves as a method of sterilization to the affected area. Learn more about our CO2 laser treatment for lip ties and tongue ties on our frenectomy services page.

During the process, cells are stimulated to turnover, which speeds up the wound healing time and decreases the overall length of time the ulcer lasts. For best results, bring your child in for laser treatment of canker sores when the mouth ulcer first begins or within the first few days of its presentation.

Parents and pediatricians throughout North Salt Lake, West Bountiful, Centerville, Farmington, and Kaysville trust us to handle their children’s and patients’ pediatric dental needs. You can trust us too. We are proud to bring together only the most experienced pediatric dentists, Dr. Jason Horgesheimer, Dr. Chuck Odion, and Dr. Clark Walker. They all have extensive experience working exclusively with children and using advanced CO2 laser tools to treat pediatric dental issues.

If your child is suffering from annoying and painful canker sores, please call our office at (801) 294-8880 to see if we can provide instant relief and promote a faster healing period.