What is the morbidity associated with aphthous ulcers?

Updated: Feb 25, 2019
  • Author: Michael C Plewa, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Aphthous ulcers (canker sores) are associated with local pain and discomfort. Symptoms usually last 2-10 days with minor and herpetiform ulcers and as long as 30 days with major ulcers. Most cases are self-limited and heal without sequelae in 7-14 days; however, major ulcers heal slowly (10-30 days or longer).

  • Major aphthous ulcers (canker sores) have been known to leave substantial scars.

  • The primary morbidity with any type of aphthous ulcer (canker sore) in the pediatric population is dehydration due to poor oral intake.

  • Secondary bacterial infections are uncommon.

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