You’ve done all the right stuff, but that canker sore is still glaring at you every time you open your mouth. It’s been three weeks already, and you’ve avoided biting it or eating acidic foods. You’ve also spent a big chunk of a paycheck on over-the-counter remedies for pain and on replacing your offending toothpaste that contained sodium lauryl sulfate.
There are a number of indications that it’s time to seek professional treatment when a canker sore can’t be tamed at home, according to CankerSore.net. These include having sores larger than a dime that are unusually painful, especially if they have an irregular shape. Fever that starts with a canker sore outbreak is another sign.
If you’ve battled a sore for more than three to four weeks, it’s time. Should you have one that extends out to your lips or if you experience pain you just can’t tolerate when you eat or drink, you need help. And if you see large clusters of tiny sores in one area or sores that just keep recurring, you need to schedule an appointment.
Sufferers have a choice of two paths of treatment: medical doctor or dentist. There are a number of reasons why you might want to choose a dentist. However, probably the most compelling one is that should you need some surgery, your family practitioner or internist can’t operate on your canker sore. Only an M.D. who’s a surgeon can. This means you might need to see two medical practitioners.
If you do choose to see an M.D. first, he or she will probably prescribe one of several common medications. These include oral steroids to control your symptoms, such as tetracycline, a somewhat controversial antibiotic for extreme canker sore cases. The major advantage to going to a medical doctor for treatment is that he or she can order tests to determine if your canker sore is secondary to another condition such as inflammatory bowel disease or a vitamin deficiency.
Many major web sites that discuss the treatment of canker sores classified them as a dental condition. A dentist can prescribe the same medications as a medical doctor can. In addition, he or she can do any surgical repair work that might be necessary if the canker sore has actually been cut or damaged by any loose wires or other hardware in your mouth, short of work that’s complex enough to require treatment by an oral surgeon.
While it’s rare, some canker sores do develop into cancer. A dentist can do a biopsy. A medical doctor who is a general practitioner, a family doctor or an internist, however, must refer you to a surgeon. And most likely, it will be to an oral surgeon.