Have you ever had that burning, itching, painful feeling around the lip area and wonder if you should keep your dental appointment? These are the beginning stages of HERPES SIMPLEX or better known as a cold sore. Multiple vesicles are formed, which rupture and form blisters that then crust over and heal in approximately two weeks.
To prevent transmission of HSL, it is essential to avoid the fluid from the blisters because it’s very contagious. In the home, you should isolate your personal care items such as washcloths, towels, toothbrushes and drinking glasses along with utensils. In the dental office, if a patient has an active outbreak present, any procedures should be postponed till the cold sore has been cleared, unless of course it is an emergency situation and needs to be treated right away.
After the original outbreak, the virus will lie dormant and can be reactivated by certain triggers such as; stress, trauma, fever, surgery, fatigue, too much sun, and menstruation. Most individuals experience two or fewer outbreaks per year.
Examination of lesions are usually sufficient to diagnose HSL and there are several topical and antiviral medications available that can prevent outbreaks such as topical creams like Zovirax or Xerese, which we can prescribe to our patients in our Etobicoke Dental office. In more advanced situations your family doctor can prescribe systemic medication in tablet form.
Patient education is critical to recognize and manage infectious outbreaks of Herpes Simplex Labialis