Richard Warner, D.D.S.

Warner Family Dentistry in Council Bluffs

(712) 328-1100

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Dr. Richard Warner

Phone (712) 328-1100

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  If you have a mouth sore you’re likely more concerned about what you can do to make it feel better rather than trying to figure out what it’s name is.  To determine the best treatment approach, however, one needs first to figure out just what kind of sore it is.


   By far the most common sore in the mouth is the canker sore; the official name is “apthous ulcer.”  These typically occur on “loose” tissues like the inside of the cheek or tongue.


   The other common sore is the cold sore or fever blister, official name “herpes labialis.”  These are caused by a virus that is with you for life.  The virus remains dormant until triggered.


   These common sores run their course in about ten days.  Be sure to see your dentist or physician for any sore that lasts longer than that!  Mouth cancer is a killer and it can appear like these more common sores.

Mouth Sores...



* Not contagious.


* Usually about the size of a pencil eraser (3-5 mm).


* Most painful at about 3-4 days; they go away after ten days.


* Caused by stress, fatigue, diet, side effect of medications, heredity, injuries.


* Appear gray in the center surrounded by red.


Treating a canker sore...


Dab Milk of Magnesia on the sore or mix Milk of Magnesia with Benadryl and apply to the sore with a cotton swab several times a day. Spit out the excess, don’t swallow it.


Apply the ointment Orabase with Benzocaine every four hours. You can buy this at the drug store.


Apply Aloe juice to the sores; you can get this at health food stores.


Putting ice on the sore will relieve the pain for awhile.


Avoid spicy foods.


Rinse with hydrogen peroxide or warm salt water.



* Very contagious.


* Starts as several tiny blisters that eventually form into one sore.


* Found most often on lips, face, or on the gum tissue overlying the bone that supports the teeth.


* Brought about by stress, sunlight, or a mouth injury.

Treating a cold sore...


The medication Acylovir (Zovirax) can reduce symptom duration. To be effective the medication must be started very early; it won’t work if you have had the sores for awhile. Your dentist can write a prescription for this medication if it is right for you.


Valacylovir (Valtrex) can prevent the sores from fully forming if taken as soon as symptoms are first noticed. Your dentist can prescribe this for you.


A good over-the-counter medication is Docosanol 10% (Abreva). Apply it five times a day at the onset of symptoms and continue until the sores have healed.


If you are troubled by cold sores on the outside of our lips or face be sure and use sunscreen.

Canker Sores...

Cold Sores...