Your family doctor or general practitioner will likely be able to diagnose a canker sore based on its appearance. In some cases, however, your doctor may recommend that you make an appointment with your dentist.
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, including what to expect from your doctor.
Information to gather in advance
- Write down your symptoms, including when they first started and how they may have changed or worsened over time.
- Make a list of all your medications, as well as any vitamins or other supplements.
- Write down your key medical history, including any other medical conditions.
- Write down key personal information, including any recent changes or emotional stressors in your life.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor to make your visit more efficient.
Below are some basic questions to ask your doctor. If other questions occur to you during your visit, don't hesitate to ask.
- Do I have a canker sore?
- If so, what factors may have contributed to its development?
- Do I need any tests?
- What treatment approach do you recommend, if any?
- What self-care steps can I take to ease my symptoms?
- Is there anything I can do to speed up my recovery?
- How soon do you expect my symptoms will improve?
- Is there anything I can do to help prevent a recurrence?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you the questions below. Be ready to answer them so that you have more time for discussion.
Mar. 24, 2012
- What are your symptoms?
- When did you first notice these symptoms?
- How severe is your pain?
- Have you had similar sores in the past? If so, have you noticed if anything in particular seemed to trigger them?
- Have you been treated for similar sores in the past? If so, what treatment was most effective?
- Have you had any recent dental work?
- Have you recently experienced significant stress or major life changes?
- What is your typical daily diet?
- Have you been diagnosed with any other medical conditions?
- What medications are you taking, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, herbs and other supplements?
- Do you have a family history of canker sores?
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1608/0.html. Accessed Feb. 2, 2012.
- Long SS, et al., eds. Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/174218004-3/925169573/1679/31.html#4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06687-0..50030-8--cesec16_721. Accessed Feb. 2, 2012.
- Flint PW, et al. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05283-2..X0001-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05283-2&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed Feb. 2, 2012.
- Canker sores, cold sores & common mouth sores. American Dental Association. http://www.ada.org/2982.aspx?currentTab=1. Accessed Feb. 2, 2012.
- Stomatitis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dental_disorders/symptoms_of_dental_and_oral_disorders/stomatitis.html. Accessed Feb. 2, 2012.
- Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-2/0/1494/0.html. Accessed Feb. 6, 2012.
- Goldstein BG, et al. Oral lesions. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Feb. 6, 2012.
- AskMayoExpert. Recurrent aphthous ulcers. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2011.
- Morelli V, et al. Alternative therapies for common dermatologic disorders, part 2. Primary Care Clinics in Office Practice. 2010;37:285.
- Bailey J, et al. What is the most effective way to treat recurrent canker sores? The Journal of Family Practice. 2011;60:621.
- Messadi DV, et al. Aphthous ulcers. Dermatologic Therapy. 2010;23:281.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 21, 2012.
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