Mouth ulcers

Alternative Names

Oral ulcer; Stomatitis – ulcerative; Ulcer – mouth

Definition of Mouth ulcers

Mouth ulcers are sores or open lesions in the mouth. (See also mouth sores or canker sores)

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Mouth ulcers are caused by many disorders. These include:

Signs and tests

A health care provider or dentist usually diagnoses the type of mouth ulcer, based on its appearance and location. Blood tests or a of the ulcer may be needed to confirm the cause.

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms. The cause, if known, should be treated.

Expectations (prognosis)

The outcome varies depending on the cause of the ulcer. Many mouth ulcers are harmless ( )and heal without treatment. Sometimes, mouth cancer first appears as an ulcer that won’t heal.

Review

Linda Vorvick, MD, Family Physician, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 2/1/2009

Oral thrush
Canker sore (aphthous ulcer)
Lichen planus on the oral mucosa
Mouth sores

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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