Cold Sore Treatment
Without treatment, cold sores typically heal within a few days of the initial breakout and vanish within a few weeks. Creams, ointments and over the counter treatments can shorten healing times to three or four days. However, we have determined that diagnosing the outbreak early and administering the laser treatment can greatly improve healing times and sometimes prevent cold sores altogether.
What are cold sores?
Cold sores, also known as herpetic lesions, are small blisters that appear on the lip and around the mouth. They are caused by a herpes simplex (HSV-1) infection. Cold sore breakouts are a common occurrence that affects an estimated 67% of the global population. While there is no cure for HSV-1, healing time can be improved through laser treatment.
How are cold sores treated?
If you feel the initial tingling sensation that accompanies a cold sore outbreak, call your dentist right away. Your dentist can diagnose your cold sore during a routine exam, at which time we will determine if laser treatment is right for you. Laser treatment works by destroying the virus and stopping the progression of the herpetic lesion, meaning you won’t experience more sores.
Here are the typical recovery times you can anticipate:
- Two days with laser treatment
- Four to five days without laser treatment
- Three to four days with ointment or cream
- Fully developed lesions may not be treatable with our laser, so it’s important to catch the outbreak as soon as possible.
What causes cold sores?
Cold sores are a common viral infection. They are tiny, fluid-filled blisters on and around your lips and are often grouped together in patches. After the blisters break, a crust forms over the resulting sore and will usually heal in two to four weeks without leaving a scar.
Cold sores spread from person to person by close contact, such as kissing. They’re caused by a herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) closely related to the one that causes genital herpes (HSV-2). They are contagious even if you can’t see them yet.