A cold sore is a relatively common viral infection occasionally experienced by a large percentage of the population. Those who have had a cold sore before can tell you that they are uncomfortable and embarrassing. One thing that is not commonly known is that if you have a cold sore outbreak (in the stage where it is blistering), you may be at risk for spreading the virus to others, to other areas of the lips, and even to your eyes, nose or fingers.
It is not recommended to have any dental treatment if you have an active cold sore. While the risk to the team is almost non-existent due to the personal protective equipment worn, the chance the virus may spread to the inside of your mouth or worse is far too great to risk. If you have an active lesion at the time of your appointment, we may recommend treating it with our soft tissue diode laser to help lessen the symptoms and reduce healing time, and the dental appointment will be rescheduled. Your safety is our number one priority!
How can you prevent the spread of cold sores?
Wash your hands! We are constantly touching things – including our face! – often unconsciously. Frequent hand washing reduces the chance of the virus spreading to other areas of the body as well as to others.
Avoid skin-to-skin contact with others. When a cold sore is in the oozing stage, it is most contagious. Avoiding contact with others is essential in controlling the spread of the virus.
Don’t share. Please don’t share drinking glasses, toothbrushes (that might be another topic entirely!) or anything else that comes into contact with your mouth. This is a common way for the virus to spread.
Please let your dental office know if you have an active cold sore and are scheduled for an appointment as soon as you feel that initial tingling. We can discuss laser therapy for the lesion and reschedule your original appointment to a time when the virus is no longer at risk of spreading. Any questions about cold sores or any other lesion around the mouth or lips are always welcome. We are here to help!