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Cold Sores (Herpes Simplex Virus) and Dental Treatment.


What is a cold sore?  Most cold sores are cause by a virus called herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). In most cases, the virus is passed on in early childhood. The virus goes through the skin and travels up the nerves, where it lies dormant until it can be triggered at a later date.
There are various factors thought to trigger outbreaks of cold sores. These vary from person to person. Essentially the virus waits until your immune system is busy dealing with something else and then it decides to make an appearance! If you're unfortunate to have a poor immune system, then the severity of the cold sores may be much worse.


How can I treat a cold sore?  Cold sores usually clear up by themselves without treatment within 7-10 days; however, antiviral creams are available over the counter from pharmacies without a prescription. These treatments should be applied as soon as the first signs appear; when you feel a tingling, itching or burning sensation. Use of treatments after this initial period is unlikely to have much of an effect.

Should I see my Dentist if I have a cold sore?  The general view on this is at the dentist’s discretion, but as they are highly contagious and can be spread to other facial areas, as well as them splitting and becoming uncomfortable therefore taking longer to heal, it is advisable to only see a dentist if you require emergency dental treatment.