Mouth ulcers: Introduction
Mouth ulcers include lesions, sores, laceration, abrasions, or any open break in the mucosa of the mouth, lips or tongue. Mouth ulcers may also be called stomatitis and are a symptom of a variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions. Mouth ulcers can result from vitamin deficiencies, infection, inflammation, trauma, malignancy and other diseases and abnormal processes.
Mouth ulcers can occur in any age group or population. Mouth ulcers can be the result of a mild condition, such as a canker sore or excessive or overly aggressive tooth brushing. Mouth ulcers can also be the result of a moderate condition, disorder or disease, such as gingivitis or a cold sore. Mouth ulcers can also occur due to some diseases, disorders and conditions that can be serious, even life-threatening. These include oral cancer and leukoplakia.
Depending on the cause, mouth ulcers can be short-term and disappear quickly, such as when mouth ulcers occur due to ill-fitting dentures that are replaced by properly fitting dentures. Mouth ulcers can also occur chronically or long-term, such as mouth ulcers that happens with oral cancer or periodontal disease that is not treated.
Mouth ulcers can be the result of a wide variety of other conditions, including trauma to the mouth, teeth or gums, and as a side effect of certain medications, such as chemotherapy. For more details about causes, see causes of mouth ulcers.
Mouth ulcers often occur in conjunction with other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Other common symptoms include mouth pain, bad breath, jaw swelling, tooth fracture, bleeding gums, unusual patches or rashes in the mouth or on the lips or tongue.
Diagnosing mouth ulcers and their root cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. This includes an oral examination and oral X-rays. A full dental examination, performed by a dentist and/or periodontist (a specialist in periodontal disease) may be recommended is the cause is believed to be due to periodontal disease.
Diagnosing many common causes of mouth ulcers, such as oral thrush, cold sores and canker sores, can often be made by the symptoms and the appearance of the mouth ulcers. Making a diagnosis of mouth ulcers may also include performing a variety of tests to help to diagnose potential underlying diseases, conditions or disorders, such as oral cancer and leukoplakia. Tests can include biopsy of the mouth ulcers.
A diagnosis of mouth ulcers and their cause can easily be delayed or missed because symptoms of mouth ulcers may be mild or intermittent and for other reasons. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of mouth ulcers.
Treatment of mouth ulcers varies based on the underlying cause. Some conditions can be easily and successfully treated and cured, while others may require more intensive treatment and may not have an optimal prognosis. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of mouth ulcers. ...more »
Mouth ulcers: Ulcers in the mouth membranes or oral areas.
More detailed information about the symptoms,
causes, and treatments of Mouth ulcers is available below.
Mouth ulcers: Treatments
Treatment of mouth ulcers begins with prevention. This includes seeking regular dental care (twice yearly) and maintaining good oral hygiene, such as brushing the teeth at least twice a day and flossing once a day.
Treatment plans for mouth ulcers are individualized based on the underlying cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age and medical history of the patient, and other ...more treatments »
Mouth ulcers: Misdiagnosis
Diagnosing mouth ulcers and its cause may be delayed or missed because in some cases, mouth ulcers may not be severe enough or painful enough for a person to seek medical care. Mouth ulcers are a symptom of many different conditions, some potentially serious, such as oral cancer, so a thorough medical evaluation is needed to ensure an accurate diagnosis of ...more misdiagnosis »
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Definitions of Mouth ulcers:
A loss of mucous substance of the mouth showing local excavation of the surface, resulting from the sloughing of inflammatory necrotic tissue. It is the result of a variety of causes, e.g., denture irritation, aphthous stomatitis (STOMATITIS, APHTHOUS); NOMA; necrotizing gingivitis (GINGIVITIS, NECROTIZING, ULCERATIVE); TOOTHBRUSHING; and various irritants. (From Jablonski, Dictionary of Dentistry, 1992, p842)
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