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I have a cold sore. Do I still keep my dental appointment?

Cold Sores! Everyone’s favorite topic. While we may not be too excited to talk about these painful little “fever blisters,” the fact is most people will experience a cold sore at some point and many people are not even really sure what it is. Here is some information to explain:

 

What is a cold sore?

A cold sore is a small, painful, raised area of fluid-filled blister(s) usually around the mouth but can occur around the nose. Cold sores usually last about 5-7 days and for some, cold sores keep coming back. 

 

What causes them?

Cold sores are most often the result of the herpes simplex virus type one (HSV-1), which is extremely contagious. Sores are most contagious when they are open and blister-like. The virus lives in our bodies and usually stays inactive but certain triggers can result in an outbreak of cold sore(s). Triggers can be anything from a fever or fatigue to starting your period or high levels of stress. 

 

What is the cure?

Unfortunately, there is not a cure for cold sores but you CAN treat them for your comfort. Hold or cold compresses are often used. Over-the-counter creams such as Zovirax and Soothelip can help soothe the pain and shorten the life of the sore. 

 

Prevention

The best methods to prevent contracting the viral infection is to avoid kissing and direct skin contact with someone who has a cold sore. If you have a cold sore, you should avoid kissing or direct contact with the sore. Touching the blister should be avoided and you should wash your hands frequently to help prevent spreading the virus. 

 

I have a cold sore. Should I keep my dental appointment?

If you notice a blister form, you should call us to discuss your upcoming appointment. Depending on the situation, we will likely reschedule your elective procedure to allow time for your blister to heal. This is usually preferred by our patients who would rather not disrupt the site, causing pain and discomfort. When our patients are feeling ill and don’t want to spread sickness to other patients or team members, our recommendation is to reschedule which is the same approach we take with cold sore outbreaks.

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