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Dr. Behere
Dr. Behere, Dentist
Category: Dental
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Experience:  Masters degree, years of experience with all kinds of dental problems.
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Hi I have a sore on the upper left side of my gum- I t ...

Resolved Question:

Hi I have a sore on the upper left side of my gum- I t looks exactly like a canker sore- but from what I've read they don't usually appear on the hard bony part of the gum. I am conerned about oral cancer. I am a female 52 years old and do not drink alcohol at all. I used to smoke 10 years ago. I am concerned about oral cancer
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dental
Expert:  Dr. Behere replied 8 years ago.

Thanks for putting up your question on Just Answer.

Canker sores, or the scientific name for which is Recurrent Apthous Stomatitis, are charachetrized by repeated ulcers occuring in the mouth. They heal in about 7 days , but during this period they are extremely painful. There is great dificulty in talking, eating and swallowing.

They generally appear on mobile , loose parts of the mouth. Like the cheek mucosa, the mucosa under your tongue etc.

But,what your tongue is feeling what you THINK is your gums, could infact be the deepest part of the mucosa there, where the gums end, and the cheek mucosa begins.

There have been various factors that have been linked to the cause of RAS:

- genetic basis
- stress
- smoking
- nutritional deficienies
- immune basis

The treatment consists of a multipoint approach, consisting of the following:

1. Tetracyclin in the form of mouth swish or expectorate. This is effective for its antibacterial action.

2. Topical anesthetic in the foem of a Benzocaine paste. This helps to numb the pain temporarily.

3. A topical steroid gel containing Triamcinolone Acetonide. This helps to reduce the inflammation.

4. A 15 day course of vitamin B complex capsules. This helps to correct any nutritional deficiencies.

Please keep in mind, that once they occur, the ulcers, with all the above treatment, will heal in 3-4 days, as compared to the 7-8 days that they take.

There is no wonder drug that can make them go away in a days time.

I recommend that you read this excellent article on RAS:

Now to your concern on oral cancer. there are certain characteristics, that make a cancer ulcer different from an apthous sore.

If the sore is surrounded by a red zone, it is likely to be an apthous ulcer.

Cancer ulcers are bigger, they have dead, whitish tissue inside, they do not respond to normal therapy, and their margins are raised upwards.

And they are extremely rare on the gums. Plus, you have not been placing a chewable form of tobacco in your mouth for extended periods of time. You have quit smoking ten years ago.

I strongly feel that it is not a cancer sore.

But still, if you do want to be 100 % sure, it will only take a short trip to an oral surgeons clinic. the sore and the tissues surounding it will be removed after anesthetizing the area, and sent fot laboratory study. The report will take a couple of days, and will be the absoulte final word to settle the matter.

Go for the above procedure, ONLY if my reasoning has still not convinced you completely, that it is NOT a cancer sore.

Hope this answers your question. Feel free to contact me again for more information.

I wish you a speedy recovery !!!

Dr. Behere.

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