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Cold Sores: Painful Fever Blisters

Cold sores what a pain! They seem to show up from out of nowhere and without warning.

What are cold sores?

Better known as fever blisters, here’s what we have to say about them. Cold sores are defined as painful lesions or blisters which form on the lips, chin, cheeks or less commonly nostrils.

Facts about cold sores:

  • They are caused by the Herpes Simplex Type 1 virus
  • They are highly contagious
  • They turn into yellow-crusted sores
  • They disappear within 14 days of an outbreak
  • They occur over and over again. There is no known cure

So, what can I do when I know I have the Herpes Simplex Type 1 virus?

  • Prevent cold sores before an outbreak occurs. For example, if your outbreaks are triggered by exposure to the sun, wear sunscreen or zinc oxide on your lips or other vulnerable places. Limiting exposure to sunlight may help prevent outbreaks.
  • Relieve the pain fever blisters cause when they occur
  • Help your cold sores heal
  • Keep fever blisters from spreading
  • Use hand sanitizer often to prevent spreading the virus to others

How can I know if the painful lesion that appeared on my lip is really a cold sore or not?

  • You experience tingling, itching or pain around that affected area of your lips or mouth
  • A blister appears after tingling, itching or pain around the affected area
  • The blister breaks open
  • Clear fluid secretes from it
  • A yellow crust forms over the blister as the area begins to heal.
  • The blister takes 2-3 weeks to heal

This 2-3 week period can be very painful and quite embarrassing since most cold sores are very noticeable.

Okay. I have a cold sore. Now what?

Laser Therapy – Cold sores are best treated and kept under control in their early stages. Laser therapy can keep an outbreak from occurring if caught in time. As soon as you feel the sensations of tingling or pain in the area where the cold sore is starting, you should see your Sherwood Dental dentist.

Because there is no known cure for cold sores, they will occur over and over once you have caught the virus. Often they will come back in the same spots over time if not treated with laser therapy.

If you are unable to come in before a blister appears, laser therapy can take away the discomfort and help your cold sore heal faster. Biostimulation provided by laser therapy increases collagen production aiding in healing.

After laser treatment, the nerve cells around the area are deadened which provides instant pain relief.

Laser therapy for cold sores is often covered by your dental insurance and is a procedure we can perform in ten minutes without any anesthetic!

Learn more about how we can treat cold sores with dentistry lasers here.

Topical Cream – Sometimes treatments may also include a topical cream to help the area heal. The dentists at Sherwood Dental are able to prescribe these topical cream medications for you. They are often more effective than over-the-counter medications.

Can I come into the dentist for my appointment if I have a cold sore? 

If on the day you have an appointment with the dentist a cold sold appears, it is best to cancel your appointment. Having your lip tugged on during your dental appointment can be very painful and increase symptoms. If it is the second or third day following its appearance, you should be able to keep your dental appointment. Usually a cold sore has crusted over by the second or third day.

Treat your cold sores early. Give Sherwood Park Dental a call as soon as you feel the symptoms of a cold sore coming on. Call (780) 464-4166 and let us know if you are interested in laser therapy to stop the progression of cold sores.

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