Canker Sore Treatment

Is Cauterizing Mouth Ulcers the Answer to Canker Sore Pain?

Large and painful canker sores can be a nightmare. Whether you just have one ulcer or a mouth full of sores on the  tongue, inside cheeks, gums, and elsewhere inside their mouth, the pain and discomfort can be intense. Many people have tried all sorts of home remedies for canker sores to no avail. For these tough cases, sometime the best solution is to cauterize them. The process of cautery involves destroying the ulcerated tissue to help stop pain and promote healing. There are several means of cauterization, either via laser or chemically, with both prescription and over-the-counter treatments available.

Laser Treatment

Let’s look at the laser method first. This is one of the best canker sore treatments available and for many it is preferable because the procedure doesn’t hurt. It is fairly inexpensive  and it works very, very well. Laser cauterization accelerates the healing process and might even reduce the prospects for recurrence. Done at the dentist’s office, a laser is used to zap the ulcer and it only takes a minute. The main benefits are the immediate elimination of pain and the promotion of healing. When the laser is applied to the ulcer, it seals the nerve endings and literally vaporizes the ulcer. Patients are left with a reddish area, which dissipates as the lesion site begins to  produce healthy new tissue. Most people report their sores have healed  within 24 hours and best of all, the pain stops instantly. The procedure is safe and there is little chance of infection. The only con is that it requires a trip to the dentist.


Another very effective means of cauterizing your mouth sores is also only available via your dentist. Debactoral, a prescription medicine, is  a very popular topical treatment that  contains sulfuric acid.  The drug comes in the form of a swab and when applied to the lesion it cauterizes it. The treatment is  very effective at eliminating the pain because it deadens the nerves and allows the area to scab over. Patients report their pain is stopped immediately after the Debactoral is swabbed on. Another major benefit is that the ulcers tend to heal much faster, in a day or two versus a week to 10 days for the typical canker sore.

Like the silver nitrate, the Debacterol will sting sharply for several seconds after application, but within 2-3 days the ulcerated tissue will be replaced with new, healthy skin.

Silver Nitrate

An inexpensive means of cauterizing your canker sore at home is by using silver nitrate. You can usually find silver nitrate sticks on the internet including such shopping sites as Amazon. The typical procedure is to dip the tip of the stick in water and dab it to your ulcer. The next 10 to 15 seconds will go by very slowly, as users report that the substance causes extremely intense, but fortunately brief, pain. Fortunately the pain goes away quickly and by the next day most people find all the pain from their sore is gone. The silver nitrate cauterizes the ulcers and therefore eliminates the pain. After applying the silver nitrate, the lesion will turn gray or black and fall off like a scab. It’s not a pretty picture, but then neither is a canker sore.

If you are going to try silver nitrate you should be aware that:

  1. It stings severely when first applied.
  2. It  will blacken the skin, so rinse your mouth thoroughly after applying the stick and avoid getting it on other areas of your mouth.
  3. The sticks should be stored in a dark place to retain potency, as the silver nitrate decomposes into elemental silver when exposed to light.

Tip: If you want to use this remedy, try applying benzocaine or another numbing spray to the inside of your mouth where you will be applying the silver nitrate. This may help reduce the pain of application by numbing the area.

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