Cold sores are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1). Although many people may worry and overreact when they hear the word “herpes,” HSV-1 is a common virus that affects almost 70% of Americans age 12 and older1. It is easily spread through saliva or direct contact with the infected area. Often, HSV-1 is contracted early on in life, generally by family members or close friends kissing or sharing items like towels, toothbrushes, or kitchen utensils.2
Once the virus is contracted, people tend to experience recurrent cold sore flares, which can be triggered by a number of stressors: fever/illness, excessive sun exposure, skin abrasions, trauma, menstrual periods, or certain medications.3 Even though cold sores typically go away within two weeks on their own, it is possible to shorten the outbreak with antiviral medications prescribed by your doctor, or over the counter cold sore treatments.
Although we take tremendous care in our hygienic practices, we ask patients who suffer from cold sores to reschedule their appointment if they are experiencing an outbreak. Visiting the dentist while having a cold sore can be uncomfortable for the patient, who may experience increased lip pain, cracking, and bleeding due to the sores.
To schedule or re-schedule an appointment, contact us at 952-443-3368.
1Colgate Professional. 2007. New Treatments for Cold Sores. http://www.colgateprofessional.com/patient-education/articles/new-treatments-for-cold-sores
2Delta Dental. 2016. What You Need to Know About Oral Herpes. http://oralhealth.deltadental.com/adult/oralconditions/22,Delta153
3Delta Dental. 2016. What You Need to Know About Oral Herpes. http://oralhealth.deltadental.com/adult/oralconditions/22,Delta153