Cold sores vs. canker sores, and your dental appointment Do you have small blisters on the border of your lips but don’t know if they are cold sores or canker sores?

If you do have cold sores, don’t worry about your scheduled dentist appointment for we can adjust and reschedule to suit your condition.

Give us a call! Usually, cold sores heal within 8 to 10 days and it’s much preferable to have your dentist appointment rescheduled to then. Keep us posted!

Freezing Cold Sores Out

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus, and the most common way they are spread is by kissing. Unfortunately, the virus can be transmitted even when blisters are not present.

Once a person has contracted the virus it can erupt in active sores and then hide in nerve cells but, it never goes away, often returning again and again over a lifetime due to a number of triggers.

Cold sores usually occur around the lips but can spread to other parts of the face or body, with a preference for warmth and moisture. Cold sores usually announce themselves with pain or tingling around the lip, and it is at this point that the cold sores are most vulnerable to treatment.

As cold sores continue to develop they are followed a few days later by painful red blisters which ultimately break, ooze, and form a yellowish crust. The typical duration of a cold sore outbreak is five to 14 days, but an outbreak can go on much longer.

It is all the unfortunate aspects of cold sores/herpes that make controlling them so important. At True Dental Care, we can help you keep cold sores at bay, hit them hard when they begin to erupt, decrease inconvenience and suffering, and help you avoid passing the virus along to others.

Let’s take a look at the best ways to deal with cold sores.

Keep the sores away

The best medicine is prevention, and this is particularly true of cold sores. Once you have the virus, the best thing you can do is keep healthy. The first step is to keep your immune system in tip-top shape. Part of this is avoiding stress.

When you undergo stress, your immune system has to work extra hard to keep you healthy. Good steps include, not smoking, avoiding sugar, eating a nutrient-rich diet, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of sleep.

Keep the barriers up

Sunshine is often a trigger for cold sores, so use sunblock and a layer of moisturising balm to ward off UV rays during the summer to keep your lips in top condition.

Also, avoid any personal triggers, which might include:

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Cold weather.
  • Excessive sunlight
  • Dental trauma
  • Menses

Once it begins

Once you’ve reached the tingling stage, the virus is on the march, and your only hope is to act quickly to prevent a full-fledged outbreak.

If used early enough, medicine containing the anti-viral ingredient acyclovir can stop the virus from reaching the skin surface. Most antivirals come in a topical cream or tablet or form, and some are available as injectables (although this is only for severe cases).

To reduce the risk of a full-fledged outbreak, begin antiviral therapy medication the minute you feel a cold sore coming, even if no blisters are apparent.

Some prescription antivirals are:

  • Acyclovir
  • Famciclovir
  • Valacyclovir
  • Penciclovir

If you are extremely prone to cold sores, you might want to ask your doctor about keeping a prescription in hand so that you can get your medicine at the first tingle.

Dealing with an outbreak

If an outbreak comes, the next tactic is to minimise it. There are multiple strategies for this.

  • An ice-pack (wrapped to prevent damaging the skin) held against the affected area can literally “freeze” the virus in its tracks slowing or stopping its progress to the surface. Cold compresses can also be used to numb localised discomfort caused by cold sores.
  • Ibuprofen and Paracetamol can help deal with the pain.
  • Avoid touching cold sores at all costs.
  • Do not pick at scabs – this slows healing.
  • Dab creams on sores rather than rubbing them in.
  • Apply petroleum jelly to soothe your lips and create a barrier over the virus.

Avoid spreading the virus

Don’t share things you put it in your mouth. You can pass the virus by sharing food, eating utensils, drinking straws, cups, and glasses. That also goes for lip balm, lipstick, razors, toothbrushes, towels and pillowcases.

Call your dentist or physician if:

  • Sores persist longer than one or two weeks
  • The sores make it hard for you to talk or swallow
  • You develop a fever
  • You have a second outbreak of blisters

True Dental Care for your Dental Health

The foundation of True Dental Care is a passion for healthy beautiful smiles. Our team is composed of Australian trained dentists, nurses, and a prosthetist. We offer general dentistry, implants and cosmetic dentistry, and emergency services, all in our advanced facility with a highly-trained staff and cutting-edge technology and.

You can find us near the corner of Donovan St and Bell St, a convenient 25 meters from the Bell Train Station! Our convenient offices are on the ground floor.

True Dental Care Preston offers an extensive range of treatment options from pain management to implants and Invisalign.

Call (03) 9131 5952 or visit us at 358 Bell St in Preston.

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