Cold Sores and your Dental Appointment
Dentists encounter patients with different oral health conditions all the time, and sores around your mouth are usually little to be concerned about.
These sores are typically cold sores or canker sores, and what is important is that you give us a heads up and inform us about your condition, so we can adjust and reschedule your dental appointment if needed.
Cold sores should heal within 8 to 10 days. If you happen to be unsure what’s causing your blisters, here’s an illustration of the difference between cold sores and canker sores. Check for yourself and keep us posted!
Cold sores, sometimes known as fever blisters, are small, fluid-filled ulcers that appear on your lips and around your mouth. They last over from 5-14 days and cause discomfort as well as embarrassment due to their unpleasant appearance.
For years, cold sores were considered inevitable. Treatment was little more than to let them run their course, causing pain and embarrassment the entire time. Today, however, there are safe and effective ways to help stop them or shorten the time they appear on a person’s face, and DentArana Dental is here to share those approaches!
The first thing to do is avoid behaviours that can cause cold sores to erupt.
These behaviours are called “triggers” and here are some common ones according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Fever or viral infection
- Hormonal changes, such as those related to menstruation
- Exposure to wind and sunlight
- Changes in the immune system
There are other potential triggers, and the best thing to do is be aware of what triggers you, and how to avoid it.
Medicate as quickly as possible
The best time to defeat a cold sore is as soon as you feel an itching or tingling around your mouth. Itching and tingling can appear a few days before blisters break out and this is when that the virus is most treatable.
The number one medical approach to cold sores is antivirals, which can come in the form of creams, pills, or even injectables. Antivirals may reduce the length of an acute outbreak or prevent new outbreaks.
To reduce your risk of a significant outbreak and possibly shorten any outbreak that does occur, begin antiviral therapy medication immediately if you sense and symptoms.
Prescription antivirals include:
- acyclovir (Zovirax)
- famciclovir (Famvir)
- penciclovir (Denavir)
- valacyclovir (Valtrex)
For people who are very prone to cold sores, keeping a prescription in hand is an excellent way to make sure that you can respond to symptoms as quickly as possible.
Treating/ameliorating symptoms of cold sores
Nonprescription ointments and creams for symptom management include:
- Docosanol 10% can be applied directly to the sores to manage pain and help sores fade away more quickly.
- Topical pain medicine can ease the discomfort of cold sores. These medicines contain benzocaine and camphorated phenol.
- Benzyl alcohol relieves the pain of cold sores and may help shorten healing time, especially if used as soon as symptoms arise.
Other approaches include:
- Apply cool compresses. Cool compresses or carefully wrapped ice can be applied for a period of 5 to 10 minutes a few times a day. Don’t put ice directly on your skin, as this can cause severe damage.
- Don’t touch! Touching a cold sore not only dries it out but can lead to a bacterial infection, since anything on your hands can enter the broken skin of a cold sore.
Natural treatment of cold sores is varied:
- Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). A 2012 study found that in some cases Melissa officinalis could kill the herpes simplex virus.
- L-lysine. Amino acid L-lysine may help shorten the duration of a fever blister.
- Zinc therapy. Zinc can help wounds heal, and topical zinc may help deal with fever blisters.
- Tea tree oil. Tea tree oil studies suggest it may be useful as an antiviral. It may also speed up the healing process.
- Witch hazel. A 1996 study found witch hazel may be useful in fighting herpes and in reducing inflammation.
How to be sure the virus does not spread
If you have a cold sore, it becomes your responsibility NOT to pass it along.
Here are some sensible precautions:
- Wash your hands if you touch a cold sore.
- Don’t rub your eyes after touching a cold sore. This can lead to an ocular herpes infection, which can cause blindness.
- Replace your toothbrush or any other personal hygiene items that might harbour the virus.
- Don’t kiss anyone until your cold sores are entirely gone.
- Don’t share utensils, glasses, towels, pillowcases, or razors.
- Replace your lipstick or lip balm when the cold sores are entirely gone.
DentArana Dental is your partner in health
DentArana Dental provides Family Dentistry in Arana Hills. At DentArana we want you and your family to maintain a beautiful, healthy smile, for life. Our goal is to make quality dental care affordable, and help you achieve maximum oral and overall health! DentArana can help you with all your dental needs, from clean and scales to bridges and dentures.
We are conveniently located in Brisbane’s western suburbs and offer late and Saturday hours!
New Patients Specials
- Pay No Gap: NO GAP for Dental Exam, Clean and Scale (with any health insurance) for under 17
- No Health Insurance: Only $99 for Exam, Clean and Scale (under 17’s)
Call (07) 3351 3366 or visit us at Shop 5 Patricks Place, Corner Dawson Parade and Patricks Road in Arana Hills.