Types of Canker Sores You May Encounter

canker sore

Story at-a-glance -

  • Minor canker sores are very small, oval-shaped with a red border and measure less than 1 centimeter (0.39 inch) in diameter
  • Herpetiform canker sores start off as irregular-edged clusters of 10 to 100 very small lesions, with some measuring less than 1 millimeter (0.039 inch)

Did you know that there are multiple types of canker sores that you or someone you know might have? If you experience frequent canker sores on your gums, tongue or in your mouth, learn more about how these sores may affect you, and how you can quickly differentiate them from one another.1,2

Minor or Simple Canker Sores (Minor Aphthous Stomatitis)

This type of canker sore is arguably the most common, affecting more than 80 percent of persons with the condition. Minor canker sores are very small, are oval-shaped with a red border3 and measure less than 1 centimeter (0.39 inch) in diameter.4 Compared to other types of sores, minor canker sores heal the fastest, with recovery time taking only about one week, without any form of scarring.5

Major Canker Sores (Major Aphthous Stomatitis)

Major canker sores are less common, since only 15 percent of patients have this type. Compared to minor canker sores, these are deeper and larger, measuring over 1 centimeter in diameter.6 The sores are round with either defined edges or irregular borders, and the lesion is especially large.

Unfortunately, major canker sores are extremely painful and take a longer time to heal. The typical recovery time for these sores takes at least six weeks, and they could cause scarring in the mouth.7 In some cases, these sores can even transform in the shape of the mucosal surface.8

Herpetiform Canker Sores (Apthous Stomatitis)

Of all the types of canker sores, Herpetiform canker sores are the least common, since they are present in less than 5 percent of people.9 They typically occur in older people10 and, contrary to popular belief, aren’t caused by the herpes virus.11

Herpetiform canker sores start off as irregular-edged clusters of 10 to 100 very small blisters, with some measuring less than 1 millimeter (0.039 inch). As time progresses, the clusters could merge together to form larger groups. While the appearance of these clusters could be alarming, they tend to heal fast. It takes just one to two weeks for Herpetiform canker sores to heal, without any scarring.12

MORE ABOUT CANKER SORES

Canker Sore: Introduction

What Is a Canker Sore?

Canker Sore Causes

Canker Sore Types

Canker Sore Symptoms

Canker Sore Treatment

How to Get Rid of Canker Sores

Canker Sore Prevention

Canker Sore Diet

Canker Sore FAQ



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