Approximately 1 out of 4 people suffer from recurring cold sores, which makes it a common condition, but one that can affect your dental appointments.
Other conditions can be similar, so if you happen to have small blisters around the borders of your lips, it’s important to determine if they are cold sores or canker sores. Here’s an illustration of the difference.
Moreover, if you do have a canker sore, it is important that you give us a call so we can reschedule your dentist appointment until after your sores heal, in about 8-10 days.
Anyone who has suffered the embarrassment and pain of cold sores knows the symptoms too well: that tingly, itchy, hot feeling on the edge of your lip. And because cold sores can be caused by stress, they sometimes seem to strike when they’re least welcome; just before a party, job interview, or some other important occasion. Herpes simplex I, the virus that usually causes cold sores is like a bad penny – it always turns up.
The first cold sore is often the worst. But after that the virus lurks in your system forever, lying dormant among the nerve ganglia beneath your skin’s surface, waiting to be spring back to life.
At The Glenroy Dental Group we know that striking back against cold sores, hard, when they first start to erupt, is one of the best ways to stop them in their tracks. We also know how to treat erupted cold sores and ensure that the cold sore virus is passed to others.
Read on, to learn what you need to know about cold sores, and catching and treating them, preferably early!
Early treatment options
Early treatment is key to conquering cold sores. There are two kinds of medicines, topical (ointments) and oral (drugs). The key is to use them as soon as possible. If you are a regular sufferer of cold sores, you might get your prescription from your doctor now, so you have it in hand if you feel an outbreak coming on.
Prescription creams and ointments (be aware of side-effects!)
- Penciclovir cream is an antiviral cream that can reduce healing time by 1 to 2 days, particularly if the cold sore was triggered by sunlight.
- Acyclovir ointment or cream works best if it is used at the first sign of cold sore symptoms. Side effects of the ointment may include mild pain or stinging at the site where it is applied.
Nonprescription ointments and creams
- Topical pain medicine can ease the discomfort of cold sores. These medicines contain benzocaine and camphorated phenol.
- Docosanol 10% can be applied directly to the sores to reduce any pain and help sores clear faster.
- Benzyl alcohol relieves the pain of cold sores and may help shorten healing time, especially if used in time.
- Dimethicone with sunscreen moisturises your lips and protects them from the sun. This can reduce the pain and itching of cold sores, and even prevent their return.
But what can you do if your cold sores have broken out?
First, of course, continue to take or apply your medicine, but you can also follow this handy list of do’s and don’ts:
- Eat food that’s rich in Lysine or take L-Lysine supplements.
- Use separate towels and face cloths from anyone else in the house.
- Get lots of rest – One of the key triggers for cold sores is being run down. Get good, regular sleep.
- Take vitamin supplements to help heal your skin.
- Boost your immune system – Take immune boosting supplements.
- Keep your cold sores moisturised – Simple vaseline or petroleum jelly will do the trick, but there are loads of cold sore and chapped lip creams. These balms provide a barrier for sore lips and ease the discomfort.
- Try a cold compress – Ice can lessen pain so try a cold pack or compress to numb the discomfort. Never put ice directly on the skin.
- Learn to combat and cope with stress – Try meditation, yoga, or other stress busters.
- Protect your lips – Be sure to wear a strong sunscreen in direct sunlight as it can trigger cold sores. In winter keep your lips moist using a lip protectant. Umbrellas and hats can also protect your lips.
- Eat salty, acidic food
- Kiss – Cold sores pass through physical contact.
- Touch, scratch, poke or pick it. Contact leads to spread. If you do touch a cold sore wash your hands and avoid other contacts.
- Get it wet! – Cold sore scabs can be very fragile, so avoid licking them or getting them wet.
- Wear make-up – Avoid lipstick as it can carry the virus.
- Keep your toothbrush in the bathroom – Moisture extends the life of the viruses.
The Glenroy Dental Group and You
At The Glenroy Dental Group, your health and happiness, and that of your loved ones are our primary goals. We use the most modern technology available and take advantage of the latest dental techniques to ensure that your dental health and appearance are at the highest level. We want you to receive the best possible dental care with no pain or anxiety!
Our offices are conveniently located in the Pascoe Vale Road shopping strip, Glenroy, with plenty of parking space, we are located within easy walking distance of the Glenroy train station.
Call (03) 9306 6511 or visit us at 2/830 Pascoe Vale Road in Glenroy.