Persistent Cold Sores? Why They Can Interfere With Dental Work & 3 Ways To Get Them Under Control

Dentist Articles

If you seem to have active cold sores more often than you don't, then they may be keeping you from obtaining the dental work you need. You may wonder why having dental work is not advised during cold sore outbreaks, and the truth is that this guideline is not only to prevent the spread of the virus but also for your benefit. Read on to find out why only emergency dental procedures are advised during cold sore outbreaks and how to get your outbreaks under control.

Why Only Emergency Dental Work is Recommended During Cold Sore Outbreaks

The CDC guidelines prevent dentists from performing dental work on you during active outbreaks aside from emergency dental treatments and when they are helping you treat the sores. The reason for this is that cold sores are caused by a type of the herpes simplex virus, called HSV-1, and limiting dental treatment during this time helps prevent spread of the virus.

However, this guideline also benefits you, because during dental procedures, the sores could be aggravated by dental instruments that may brush against them, and this can make an active outbreak last longer. Also, since stress is a trigger for cold sores, an intensive dental procedure, such as a root canal, can put even more stress on your mind and body that could lead to more cold sores developing or slower healing time for the sore you are currently battling.

Don't worry, because you can get even the most tenacious cold sores under control by following one or more of these three tips:

1. Start Wearing Lip Balm with SPF Every Day

Among the many factors that contribute to development of cold sores is sun exposure. The great news is that this is one cold sore trigger that you can control. You don't have to stop enjoying sunny days outdoors, but instead just wear a lip balm with a high SPF and be sure to cover your lips and any areas around your lips where you may be prone to developing sores.

Remember to re-apply the balm often, because sunscreen agents are only active for two hours before needing re-application. Also, when drinking beverages, eating, and even licking your lips, the balm will transfer to your food or beverage or be licked off.

2. Try L-lysine Supplements

L-lysine, sometimes simply called lysine, is an amino acid that can be taken daily to suppress cold sore development. The recommended dosage for treating active cold sores is 1,000 mg, three times each day, taken with meals. For preventing cold sores, 500 to 1,000 mg can be taken every day. It works by suppressing another amino acid in your body, called arginine, that, when over-consumed, can trigger cold sores.

Studies have shown that it works for some people but not others, but since the supplement has other health benefits, many people feel it is worth trying to see if it helps reduce their cold sore outbreaks.

3. Ask Your Dentist About Prescription Treatments

Many people think that primary care doctors can only prescribe medication for cold sores, but a dentist, such as those at Hurst Family Dental, can, as well. There are now three FDA-approved oral medications for cold sores and several topical ointments. That means that if you tried one treatment in the past that didn't work well for you, it is a good idea to give a different one a shot, as they are all similar yet different enough that one may work better for you than another.

Many of these medications cannot only help heal cold sores that pop up, but they can prevent them from occurring in the first place. Some dentists advise patients who are prone to cold sores to begin taking a medication called valacyclovir for about two weeks before dental treatment is scheduled to prevent sores from popping up before the dental appointment.

If you have frequent cold sore outbreaks that often interfere with scheduled dentist appointments and procedures, then realize that your dentist must wait for your sores to clear to prevent the spread of the virus and to help you recover more quickly. Speak to your dentist about prescription treatment options to help keep cold sores from interfering with your dental appointments and your life.


11 November 2015

Improving My Dental Appointments

After dealing with a few root canals, I realized that it was time to take my dental hygiene a more seriously. I talked with my dentist about what I could do differently, and he was full of great suggestions that would help. He walked me through different ways to brush, floss, and take care of tartar buildup, and it was really amazing to see the difference that it made. I also started taking a fluoride supplement to strengthen my enamel. When I made it to my next appointment, my dentist was blown away with the improvement. This blog is all about improving your dental appointments by keeping your teeth healthier.