Letters to the Editor

Silver Nitrate Stick Helps Manage Aphthous Ulcers

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Am Fam Physician. 2001 Sep 1;64(5):737.

to the editor: Years ago I learned from my father, who was also a physician, a simple and highly effective way to manage aphthous ulcers—touch them with a silver nitrate stick. Obviously, one needs to be sure there is no other apparent etiology but, because the most common cause is not related to underlying disease, the silver nitrate stick works wonders, and patients walk out of the office pain free.

The procedure is simple: wet the tip of the stick and gently touch it to the ulcer. When the ulcer turns white, remove the stick. Have patients swish out the silver nitrate and send them home. You should warn them that the procedure may sting for a moment but, considering that they are already in pain, they don't really notice much difference. Although silver nitrate cautery may cause more tissue necrosis and longer healing time if it is left in place too long, I have not found this to be a problem.

Send letters to Kenneth W. Lin, MD, MPH, Associate Deputy Editor for AFP Online, e-mail: afplet@aafp.org, or 11400 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy., Leawood, KS 66211-2680.

Please include your complete address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Letters should be fewer than 400 words and limited to six references, one table or figure, and three authors.

Letters submitted for publication in AFP must not be submitted to any other publication. Possible conflicts of interest must be disclosed at time of submission. Submission of a letter will be construed as granting the American Academy of Family Physicians permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. The editors may edit letters to meet style and space requirements.

Copyright © 2001 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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