Mouth ulcers, almost everyone gets them but what can be done if you have one and it is particularly painful or they keep recurring? This article takes a detailed look at ulcers, how you can treat them, how to prevent them and what causes them.
Mouth ulcer causes
Generally speaking mouth ulcers are something which you can’t control or prevent, there are however a few things which exacerbate a tendency for mouth ulcers to develop, these are:
- Poorly fitting dentures. These can rub and irritate parts of your mouth.
- Dental braces. Orthodontic braces which had brackets and wires can irritate insides of cheeks and cause ulcers.
- Accidental bites. If you continuously bite your cheek it can become irritated and ulcers can develop, if you think this is happening speak to your dentist as they may be able to adjust your bite.
- Burns. Classically from eating very hot food such as cheese on pizza.
- Damage caused by brushing. Over brushing the same part of your mouth can irritate and cause ulcers.
- Stress. Anxiety, tiredness and stress can make you more susceptible to developing mouth ulcers.
- Hormonal changes such as during pregnancy.
- Vitamin B12 or iron deficiency.
- Some medicines, particularly beta-blockers.
- Smoking. This prevents your mouth from healing properly.
The good news is that ulcers heal on their own and quite quickly, within a few days or a week.
Chronic mouth ulcers
If you have chronic mouth ulcers firstly, take a look at the list above, is there anything here you can do to reduce your risk?
If you are doing everything you can to reduce your risk of mouth ulcers and still get them frequently and have multiple ulcers at the same time this could be a symptom of either:
- Oral lichen planus. This is an irritating white lace type pattern which appears on the inside of your cheeks.
- Hand foot and mouth disease. This typically also has a rash on the hands and feet.
Are mouth ulcers contagious
No. However, if you have multiple mouth ulcers at the same time or continuously get mouth ulcers then it would be advisable to speak to your dentist or doctor as there may be a secondary condition which is contagious.
Mouth ulcer treatment
The key to treating mouth ulcers is to help speed up your healing time and not aggravate the area.
- If you have a dental appliance such as dentures or a brace, visit your dentist and ask them to make adjustments.
- Beware of over brushing and aggravating ulcers. Use a soft bristles toothbrush to ensure you are being gentle and consider switching to an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor to ensure you don’t press too hard whilst brushing.
- Apply a mouth ulcer gel, commonly available from most pharmacists.
- Eat softer foods and avoid extremely hot food.
- Eat a balanced diet to ensure you get enough vitamins and minerals.
- Quit smoking!
If I mouth ulcer lasts for more than 3 weeks, is exceptionally painful or is accompanied by additional reddening or bleeding then we recommend you visit your dentist or doctor.
Painless mouth ulcers
Generally speaking all mouth ulcers are painful. If you have something which looks similar to an ulcer but is not painful then it may be something else.
Usually this type of ulcer is completely harmless.
Possible causes of painless mouth ulcers are:
- Leukoplakia. this is typically white or grey patch which developers in the mouth and can sometimes be mistaken crop a mouth ulcer. They are often a response to a chronic irritation, smoking is quite often a cause. They are sometimes sensitive but often painless.
- Oral thrush (Candidiasis). This causes a creamy white patch to form on the inside the mouth, often accompanied by a bad taste. As oral thrush is caused by a buildup of yeast (Candida albicans) it may occur following antibiotic treatment when the regular bacteria in the mouth has been suppressed.
- Oral Lichen Planus. this is an inflammatory condition of the mucous membrane in your mouth. Typically displaying as white lacy patches which are often accompanied by a burning pain.
- Oral cancer. The least likely cause of a painless ulcer. Typically this would include painful mouth ulcers which last for several weeks. Painless white or red patches in the mouth can be a sign of mouth cancer, cheeks and tongue which can look similar to ulcers but our painless. If in doubt, get checked out by your dentist.
Alcohol and mouth ulcers
Drinking alcohol in small quantities won’t cause or effect mouth ulcers, however statistics show that regular drinkers of alcohol are more at risk , particularly if they also smoke.
Drinking excessive alcohol is more likely to cause a stomach ulcer as it irritates the lining of the stomach causing it to become inflamed, this condition is known as gastritis.
Alcohol can also affect the bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria in your mouth are in fine balance ensuring that food begins to be digested and that the pH level (acidity) remains under control. Alcohol (and smoking) can affect this natural balance of bacteria leaving your mouth open and susceptible to attack from the bad bacteria which are also present.
Foods to eat with mouth ulcers
- Eat softer food.
- Drink cool drinks. Ice cream can be good to help soothe the pain from ulcers
- Drink through a straw, this keeps any aggravating liquid away from the ulcer.
- Avoid high-temperature food which can burn as this will make the ulcers worse.
- Avoid very spicy food.
- Avoid particularly salty food.
- Avoid highly acidic food, including fruit juice.
Looking for a perfect smile?
Looking for quick straight teeth with a cost-effective treatment?
This blog post is dedicated to helping you achieve a beautiful smile, in as short a period as possible with the most cost-effective options.
let’s get started…
What is the fastest way to straighten teeth?
Understanding which is the fastest way to straighten teeth begins with answering a simple question, “Which teeth the straightening and what do you want to achieve?”.
If there is a single tooth which is rotated and needs to be straightened into line then very often dental bonding can be used. This is a process whereby a dentist applies a layer of tooth coloured resin over the surface of a crooked tooth, building it out into line so that it looks straight when viewed from the front. Dental bonding can often be done with no injection and in the treatment room.
This means there is no waiting, no impressions and a new beautiful straighter smile is achieved in about 30 min.
If more teeth require straightening, for example concentrating on the front 6 to 8 teeth, then a rapid orthodontics system such as Inman aligner may be best suited. This uses a revolutionary spring and wire system which both pushes and pulls in different directions at the same time to achieve a perfect smile rapidly.
The braces work by only putting pressure on exactly the right place on the tooth. However, one of the biggest disadvantages of the Inman aligner is that it is removable, this means patient compliance needs to be at its greatest wearing the aligner for at least 20 hours a day; it is also more visible as the wires can be seen clearly. This system is also only suitable to correct mild to moderate problems.
For a perfect smile in around 6 months (or 24 weeks depending on complexity) then Quick Straight Teeth braces can be used. This employs fixed orthodontics (so the patient is not tempted to take the braces out and therefore increase treatment time), the brackets and wires are tooth coloured meaning they are completely discreet and virtually invisible in the mouth when viewed at a regular speaking distance. This system is good for resolving moderate problems quickly.
Is there any way to straighten teeth in one day?
Yes, teeth can be straightened in a single day in some circumstances, dental bonding can be used over the surface of the teeth to give the illusion of straightness. Some practices also have digital technology allowing them to manufacture a series of dental veneers. Dental veneers require removal of the front surface of the teeth, the new veneer is then made to cover the surface in a straighter tooth alignment.
How do celebrities get their teeth fixed so quickly?
In many instances it is an allusion that celebrities have their teeth fixed so quickly, remember, many of the times one sees a celebrity online it is a recording and there is often little way to put a timing or date on this. It can therefore seem that celebrities teeth become straight very quickly, when the reality may not be the case.
It may also be that the celebrity has dental veneers rather than orthodontics. Dental veneers can reshape teeth, whiten them and give a straight a look very rapidly, typically in around 3 weeks. This is how some celebrities seem to have straighter teeth so quickly.
Can a dentist file my teeth to be smaller and straighter?
Another question which gets asked frequently on the chat forums online. When thinking about having teeth filed down it’s important to bear in mind the anatomy of the tooth. On the very inside of the tooth is the nerve and blood supply, this is extremely sensitive and needs to be covered up.
Over the top of the nerve and blood supply is a thick layer of dentine. This is a softer structure than the final outer layer of the tooth but provides some form of cushioning effect. Finally there is the hard outer layer of the tooth known as the enamel. Enamel is the hardest structure in the human body.
If the outer surface of the tooth is filed to be smaller and straighter then the enamel will be worn away and some of the dentine may become exposed. The dentine has fine tubules which reach from the outer surface down to the nerve and blood supply, if these tubules become exposed then teeth can become extremely sensitive.
It is therefore important to retain as much natural tooth enamel as possible, the human body is amazing and puts the enamel structure there in order to protect the tooth. Removing it is therefore not a good idea unless it is then covered up again by something such as dental bonding, of veneer or a dental crown.
Where can I buy braces for my teeth online?
This is a very common question that more and more people are beginning to ask, there are indeed places where you can buy braces online however we would like to give warning about doing this.
When you have teeth straightening procedures at a dentist the dentist is not only looking to straighten your teeth, they are checking to make sure that the teeth are in a healthy state to be moved in the first place. Your dentist will also be checking for dental health issues which can arise whilst wearing braces, this will be done during the routine appointments throughout the orthodontic treatment.
Missing out the dentist and purchasing braces online through one of the many direct systems can mean that the oral health care of the patient is compromised as there is no dental professional overseeing the treatment directly. We advise extreme caution when going down this route of treatment.
A perfect smile can be achieved in many ways using a combination of restorative techniques such as dental bonding, crowns or veneers as well as orthodontic techniques such as the Inman aligner or Quick Straight Teeth orthodontic system. The real secret to understanding how to achieve a perfect smile in the shortest period of time is to have a conversation with a dentist, they can then advise on the best treatment protocol to achieve your desired results.
Many people find that they have problems with their gums, either showing too much tooth (typically on the upper front teeth) and looking long in the tooth or not showing enough tooth and having a gummy smile. This blog post is dedicated to helping people understand more about how dumb lifts, reshaping and recontouring can help with a gummy or long in the tooth smile
We are going to break this blog post down into 2 sections:
- gummy smile
- long in the tooth smile
Treating a Gummy Smile
There are a few different ways to treat a gummy smile:
- Gum lift, also known as gum reshaping or gum recontouring.
- Botox or similar Botulinum Type a Toxin
What is a gum lift?
A lift would typically be undertaken on someone who shows a lot of gum on the upper teeth when they smile AND their teeth appear too small/short.
The reason both of these criteria need to be in place is because if we removed gum from someone who’s teeth looked too long then this would make their teeth look even longer, if this is you then an alternative treatment may need to be sought.
The Gum Lift Procedure
Prior to the surgical phase of the gum left your dentist will usually go through some form of pretreatment diagnosis and planning. This can very often involve production of a surgical guide.
Dental impressions will be taken of your existing smile and sent to a laboratory, they can then work out the ideal amount of gum to be removed, a plastic guide can then be manufactured following this contour of where the gum should be removed, the plastic guide can then be placed back into your mouth and this shows your dentist exactly how much gum needs to be removed. The treatment can also be used for an even gums and treating an uneven gum line.
The gum lift is very often performed using a special laser which cauterises the gum as it goes meaning you have very little bleeding , the healing process is also very quick.
The soft tissue in your mouth, such as your gum tends to heal incredibly quickly and after only a few days the pain should have gone and you should begin to see the new results of your beautiful smile.
Treating a Gummy Smile with Botox
whilst a gum lift treats the gums to improve the look a gummy smile, treatment with Botox treats the lips to hide the gummy smile, rather than the gum tissue.
Very often a gummy smile is caused by the lips pulling back too far from your teeth when you smile, treatment with Botox can help to reduce the amount of muscle movement when you smile and relaxed the top lip. This has the effect of showing less gum in a broad smile and making the gummy smile look less pronounced.
Not everyone is suitable for this less invasive treatment as it depends upon the reason for your gummy smile. If it’s because your teeth are too small then treatment with Botox may only go a small way to helping, you may need a small amount of gum lift re-contouring surgery in addition to the Botox.
What can I do about my receding gums?
Receding gums and gum recession are on the opposite end of the spectrum to gum lift surgery. Receding gums are a natural phenomenon which happened as we age. The bone in your jaw tends to resorb and as it does so this takes the level of the gum with it, the older we get the less bone density and volume we have in our mouths and the longer our teeth look. tTooth sensitivity is also exacerbated with receding gums as the more sensitive dentine of your tooth becomes exposed.
Poor oral hygiene can also lead to gum recession caused by gum disease. As the gums become inflamed and infected the bone underneath begins to resorb and pull away, this then means the gums reduce in size also. This process can continue until the inflammation and/or infection is under control. Good oral hygiene with a good brush and floss technique is the best way to prevent this.
Gum re-contouring surgery including gum grafts may be able to help if this is severe. A gum graft involves taking a donor area of oral soft tissue, usually from the roof of your mouth, and then crafting it over their front of your teeth in order to produce a new cosmetically pleasing gum line.
How to Prevent Receding Gums
If your gum recession is due to age then this can be very difficult to prevent as everyone ages!
There are however a few things you can do to keep the resort option under control.
- Switch to an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor. Sometimes patients brush too hard using a conventional toothbrush, this can then damage the gums which respond by resorb in. Many electric toothbrushes have pressure sensors and using one of these can highlight if you are pressing too hard when you clean your teeth.
- Brush from the gum towards the tooth. If you brush the other way round and away from the neck of the tooth, reversing the brushing action and brushing the gum back down onto the tooth can have a long-term effect and help to reduce the amount of gum recession.
- Avoid over cleaning in one area. Many people, particularly if they use a manual toothbrush, find that their lower right hand area of the teeth gets over brush with a manual toothbrush, this is typically around the lower right canine (eye tooth) area. This over brushing can again result in gum recession.
The cost of cosmetic dentistry is a concern for lots of people, maybe you want to brighten your smile, straighten crooked teeth or replace missing teeth but don’t know where to get started? in this blog post, our Leicester based cosmetic dentist Dr Juttes Pallipatt looks at your smile makeover and cosmetic dentistry options as well as costs.
Is cosmetic dentistry worth it? Why or why not?
Your reasons for choosing cosmetic dentistry may include things such as,
- wanting to look good for a wedding.
- Wanting to feel more confident when you smile.
- being embarrassed
Cosmetic dentistry, as well as helping with confidence and feeling better about yourself can also help to keep your teeth healthier. For example, it’s really important that you clean your teeth well each day, particularly in the difficult to reach areas in between your teeth as this is where the bulk of the bacteria lurk. Crooked teeth can be rather difficult to clean in between as it’s difficult to get floss or brushes in between teeth which aren’t straight. Straight teeth, on the other hand are far easier to clean in between with a piece of floss or brush meaning they tend to stay healthier.
What can a cosmetic dentist do?
A cosmetic dentist will primarily help you with:
- Straightening crooked teeth.
- Replacing missing teeth.
- Whitening dark teeth.
- Reshaping teeth which you don’t like the shape of.
At its core, this remains what a cosmetic dentist does, the techniques by which they achieve this change over time but include treatments like teeth whitening, dental veneers, dental bonding, dental bridges and implants.
The key feature of a cosmetic dentist is that they will be multidisciplinary, looking across a wide range of dental treatments, coordinating all of these treatments together into a smile makeover treatment plan which helps you achieve your goals.
What are the pros and cons of cosmetic dentistry?
The advantages of cosmetic dentistry include:
- Increased confidence.
- Easier to clean teeth which are straight.
- Reduction in embarrassment due to your smile. Particularly if you have front teeth which you would like changed.
- A more youthful look.
- Removing facial lines and wrinkles.
The disadvantages of cosmetic dentistry may include:
- Increased risk of dental decay if the quality of cosmetic dentistry restorations (such as veneers or crowns) isn’t as high as it could be.
- Removal of otherwise healthy tooth structure. Sometimes healthy tooth structure needs to be removed to make way for a new veneer or crown, arguably it’s better to keep as much natural tooth structure as possible.
What kind of treatment is provided by the cosmetic dentist?
A cosmetic dentist will typically bring together a range of treatments, coordinating them to resolve your dental problems. A typical smile design may include some or all of the following elements:
- Orthodontics to straighten crooked teeth.
- Dental bonding to give the illusion of straight teeth, cover up dark teeth and hide chips and cracks in teeth.
- Dental veneers to give the illusion of straight teeth, cover up dark teeth and hide chips and cracks in teeth, but to a more extensive degree in dental bonding.
- Dental crowns to restore broken down teeth.
- Dental bridges to replace missing teeth and restore broken down teeth.
- Dental implants to replace missing teeth.
- Facial rejuvenation and antiwrinkle techniques such as dermal fillers and Botox.
What is the process for a smile design?
The 1st stage in the smile design process is to have a discussion with your cosmetic dentist to find out exactly what it is you don’t like about your smile.
In conjunction with this your dentist can also help you discover other possibilities which you may not have thought about.
Once this is done your dentist will then provide a treatment plan, this will identify:
- The length of treatment.
- Exactly which treatments you will have and in what order.
- The cost of treatment.
Typically the process will then be as follows:
- Orthodontic treatment. This is used to move teeth into the correct position, sometimes this is just so that natural teeth are straighter but orthodontics can also be used prior to having different types of veneers fitted.
- Dental implants. Replacing missing teeth can also be done at an early stage and is often one of the 1st treatments to begin.
- Once any implants are fitted or orthodontic treatment has been completed you can then look at the more detailed individual tooth level of cosmetic dentistry. Typically dental veneers, crowns and whitening will be at this final stage.
How much it will cost to fix my smile?
This is incredibly difficult to answer in a blog post, you have the teeth whitening cost, the dental veneers cost and the cost of any other treatment you decide to go ahead with, so it’s really personalised.
However, to give you a broad idea of the total costs they are as follows:
- initial consultation – free
- new patient dental health exam, from this treatment plan can be provided – £55
- orthodontics-from £1800 for either the top or bottom teeth
- dental implants from £2000
- dental bonding from £90
- dental veneers from £500
- teeth whitening from £299 for either the top or bottom teeth
How much should a teeth whitening procedure cost?
There are a variety of different whitening systems including whitening toothpaste, laser treatments, whitening strips and by using a whitening gel provided at your dentist.
The toothpaste and whitening strips are easy options to begin whitening at home although you may find that the results don’t go quite white enough. This type of teeth whitening costs from as little as a few pounds for a tube of toothpaste.
The most preferred method is to use a bleaching agent such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. This can only be provided by a suitably qualified dental professional.
professional teeth whitening is far more predictable and your dentist will ensure your teeth are suitable for whitening prior to beginning the treatment. Typical whitening costs are from £299 for either the top or bottom teeth. The exact cost depends on the whitening method chosen.
There’s lots more information about cosmetic dentistry on the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s website.