Do you suffer from small blisters on the border of your lips? Do you know if they are cold sores or canker sores?
Here’s an illustration of the difference. If you are suffering from cold sores, Bondi Dental will want to move your scheduled dentist appointment.
Usually, cold sores heal within 8 to 10 days and it’s much preferable to have your dentist appointment rescheduled to then.
Give us a call and we can adjust and reschedule to suit your condition!
Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters that develop as a result of the HSV-1 or HSV-2 virus. The bad news is that these viruses are widespread, affecting well over half the world’s population.
Cold sores can be a major annoyance, causing problems from discomfort and itching to awkward social situations. In most cases, cold sores heal over the course of a couple of weeks, but a quick and proactive response to cold sores can quicken the healing process.
To help cold sore sufferers, Bondi Dental has collected the most effective ways to attack cold sores as they form, as well as proven approaches to treat, heal, and eliminate cold sores as quickly as possible once they start to develop.
Catching cold sores early!
If you are prone to cold sores, you know the symptoms. You have an unexplained tingling around your mouth, and that means a cold sore is coming on. Tingling is one of the first signs to look for in your fight against cold sores, though your lips may also burn or itch.
Catching and treating cold sores during the start of an outbreak won’t prevent the sore from forming, but it may reduce the severity and duration of the outbreak. Oral medication is extremely useful during this phase.
If you occasionally develop cold sores, you may find topical treatments useful. Some of these surface treatments include:
- Docosanol which is available over the counter (OTC)
- Acyclovir by prescription only
- Penciclovir by prescription only
If you suffer from frequent cold sores or would rather take medication orally, your doctor may prescribe one of the following:
Dealing with symptoms
Cold sores can be painful, and pain can be dealt with in several ways:
- Ice does not shorten the duration of a breakout, but it can ease the pain and inflammation of cold sores. Apply a cold compress directly on the sores for temporary relief.
- OTC pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) and give relief.
- Creams with lidocaine or benzocaine may also provide relief.
Some sufferers recommend more natural approaches. Try these home remedies, but remember that they may not help everyone. Prescription antiviral medications are most effective for treatment and prevention of cold sores.
Aloe vera gel, the same gel used to ease sunburn, may help a cold sore to heal. Research has shown the gel can help fight viruses, including herpes simplex. Apply aloe vera gel to cold sores three times a day to help them heal.
Lemon balm, which despite its name is part of the mint family, may help reduce the redness and swelling associated with a blister, although it has not been effective against pain and scabbing.
Some research suggests a lip balm with at least one per cent lemon balm. Alternatively, a compress made of a lemon balm infusion (tea) may provide similar benefits. Lemon balm may also protect against future outbreaks.
How to prevent cold sores
Stress reduction. Stress can bring the herpes virus to out of dormancy, so decreasing the amount of stress in your life is one way to prevent an outbreak. Regular exercise, meditation, and avoiding the causes of stress in your life may reduce cold sore outbreaks.
Other possible triggers include:
- A cold or other illness
- A fever
- Too much sun
- Menstrual cycle
- A recent surgery
Obviously, not all of these can be avoided, but some can and for the others, the use of avoidance techniques can be helpful in avoiding outbreaks.
Limit behaviours that could spread the virus
If you or your partner has a cold sore, hold off on the smooching. Cold sores spread through contact, which means you should also avoid sharing eating utensils, glasses, towels, etc.
If you use lipstick, balms, liner, or glosses, they need to go into the trash if you used them before your cold sore broke out. They may seem soothing, but they are likely contaminated with the virus. Another precaution is to wash your pillowcase.
Protect your lips with sunscreen
Sunburns trigger cold sores by weakening your immune system and can make existing cold sores worse. So in addition to putting sunscreen on your face, put some on your lips. Go for zinc oxide and SPF 30 or higher. Apply sunscreen with a cotton swab that is only used on your lips to decrease the risk of cold sores spreading.
The Bondi Dental Advantage
Bondi Dental is conveniently located in the Eastern Suburbs – Bondi Beach, Bondi in Sydney. Our exceptionally skilled dental professionals have more than 60 years of combined experiences in all fields of dentistry.
We provide high quality dental preventative, restorative, and cosmetic services for all patients in the region. Bondi Dental has free parking behind our building and offers a FREE Dental Consultation including a complete dental check-up.
We are open 7 days a week 8am – 8pm!
Call (02) 9365 7187 or visit us at 134 Curlewis St in Bondi Beach.