Cold Sores & Your Oral Health

While cold sores are definitely unpleasant, they’re quite common. Cold sores are small, painful clusters of fluid-filled blisters, generally on or around the lips, although they can also appear in or around your nostrils as well. Once you have the virus that causes cold sores (called herpes simplex virus), it will always be in your system and you may experience cold sores off and on for the rest of your life.

Are Cold Sores Contagious?

Cold sores are extremely contagious, from the moment the blisters appear until the cold sore is completely gone. When you’re experiencing an outbreak, it’s important to minimize exposing the virus to anyone else. This means no sharing utensils or drinking straws and no sharing any person hygiene items such as razors or chapstick. It’s a good idea not to do these things anyway, but having a cold sore makes it even more important to be vigilant.

Can Cold Sores Be Treated?

Unfortunately, your doctor can’t treat cold sores. They will go away on their own within a few days, although it’s common for them to stick around for up to a week or two. However, while cold sores themselves can’t be treated, the symptoms can be managed with antiviral creams. These will help ease the pain of the cold sore and can help them clear up more quickly.

What To Do If You Have a Cold Sore Before a Dental Appointment

If you get a cold sore and have an appointment to see your dentist, you may want to call the office before coming in to see if you should reschedule. Some dentists would rather not treat patients who have an active cold sore. This is because cold sores may crack and bleed while the mouth is open so wide during dental treatment. Other dentists will manage the cold sore during your appointment by applying Vaseline to minimize cracking and bleeding.

For more information on keeping your mouth and teeth healthy, please contact Front Range Smiles today! Our dental office is located in Parker, Colorado!

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