Cold sores are small blisters that develop on the lips or around the mouth. They’re caused by the herpes simplex virus and usually clear up without treatment within 7 to 10 days. You may not have any symptoms when you first become infected with the herpes simplex virus.
I’m sure it’ll irk those of you who get coldsores reguarly, that not everyone carries the virus that causes them. I for one, have never had a cold sore, yet my husband gets them very easily, especially when he’s stressed or has a big event coming up. They can also be triggered by illness, exposure to extreme temperatures and UV light (yes, the big, hot, firey ball in the sky can cause them).
Around seven in ten people in the UK have this virus, but only one in three will have any symptoms.
A cold sore usually starts as a tingling or burning sensation around your mouthSmall, painful, fluid-filled blisters then appear, most commonly on the edges of your lower lip. When these blisters burst, the cold sore weeps a highly contagious fluid of viral particles; this stage is very infectious and very painful. After several days a scab will form, protecting the new skin beneath. The scab may dry, crack and bleed, but moisturising may help reduce this. After 9-14 days the cold sore will have healed. The area may be slightly red, but this will soon fade.
Unfortunately, cold sores are infectious and the virus can be passed on to other people by close contact. So no kissing others for starters! It is important to avoid touching your cold sore, because you can pass the virus on to other people’s hands. If you do touch the affected area, you must wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
So the big question here is, can we see you with a cold sore? The short answer is no, we can’t see you within the first 2 weeks of the cold sore appearing. As we work in the area where the infection is (your mouth/lips), it can be really easily spread. Eventhough we have amazing infection control policies in place, even creating an aerosol with a handpiece or the sonic scaler, can be enough to set of a reaction to someone else. Once the virus is in the air, it’s quite difficult to get rid of. And also because your lips may feel sore and could crack of bleed during treatment. This will just prolong the healing process for you as well.
If urgent dental treatment is required (ie you are in pain and need immediate attention), our dentists will request that your cold sore is protected with a cold sore plaster to minimise the risk of cross-infection during emergency dental treatment.
So, if you do get a cold sore and you have a dental or hygienist appointment arranged, please give us a call on 0121 550 6958 with as much notice as possible, and we can reschedule any non-emergency treatment.Back to Blog