Cold Sore Treatment

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Cold Sore Treatment

Cold sores are blisters caused by the HSV-1 virus that can be treated and even prevented, with several different medications. Our dentist at Bell Tower Dental Care will perform an evaluation and provide you with alternatives suited to your needs and health condition.

The HSV-1 virus is transmitted by direct contact with infected skin or saliva. A primary infection may occur during childhood and cause a fever, sore gums, sore throat and swollen or tender glands in the neck. After that, the virus remains dormant in nerve roots near the infected skin. In some people, the virus rarely, if ever, reactivates. But in others, recurrences called secondary herpes episodes may occur, producing cold sores. While medical experts have not determined the exact cause for reactivation, a variety of stimuli, such as stress, dental treatment, illness, trauma to the lips or sun exposure can precipitate an outbreak.

There is no cure for cold sores; however, our dentist can prescribe the use of medications that can be useful for their treatment and prevention. Three oral antiviral medications sometimes prescribed are acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir) and valacyclovir (Valtrex). Although none of these medications will eliminate the dormant HSV-1 infection that causes cold sores, they can help the sores heal faster and relieve the associated pain and discomfort. They also can also help to suppress a cold-sore outbreak.

These drugs are effective in helping to prevent an outbreak of cold sores during a time of increased susceptibility and can help decrease recurrent outbreaks. Other treatments include topical antiviral creams and ointments, such as penciclovir (Denavir) cream. In addition, some of the topical treatments may reduce the average size and duration of a cold sore. Penciclovir reportedly is best used as soon as possible after symptoms (pain, tingling, itching, burning or blisters) begin to appear.

Your oral health has a significant impact on your overall health. Our dentist and staff are ready to provide the best dental care services. Call us to set up an appointment or feel free to visit us at Bell Tower Dental Care in Fort Myers, Florida for a personal consultation that will help you answer any questions that you may have.