Cold Sores & Canker Sores

Knock out cold sores
& canker sores, fast!

If you’ve ever had a cold sore or canker sore, you understand how uncomfortable it can be. Aside from the physical pain and discomfort, they tend to pop up in the most inopportune moments due to stress or environmental factors, and the embarrassment can make you want to go into hibernation until it runs its course. With laser treatment at Advanced Aesthetic Dentistry, we can stop cold sores and canker sores in their tracks, drastically reduce healing time, and help you put your best face forward.

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What are cold sores?

Cold sores, commonly referred to as fever blisters, are a painful infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. Most commonly they erupt on the outside of the mouth and lips, but can also appear on the nose, cheeks, or fingers. Blisters form which then break and ooze, and scab over. Cold sores usually last anywhere from 7 to 10 days but can remain for a period of weeks if left untreated.

90% of the population will get at least one cold sore in their life, the first occurrence usually being the most severe. Cold sores usually affect children more-so than adults, as children can become seriously ill. After their first infection, most people will develop an antibody that prevents cold sores from reoccurring ever again. About 40% of American adults will have a reoccurrence.

Cold sores are generally more of a nuisance than a serious health concern, however, it is important to note that the infection can be life-threatening for those infected with HIV/AIDS, or other immune deficiencies. The infection can cause blindness if it spreads to the eye, or meningitis or encephalitis if allowed to spread to the brain.

What are canker sores?

Cold sores and canker sores are often confused, but they are not the same thing. Where cold sores are typically painful, fluid-filled blisters, caused by an infection and found outside the mouth, canker sores are typically caused by stress or injury and are found inside the mouth.

Canker sores are small, shallow sores or ulcers that can occur anywhere in or around the mouth. Canker sores are not only embarrassing but also painful and can make eating and talking uncomfortable. There are two types of canker sores – simple canker sores, and complex canker sores.

Simple canker sores may appear three or four times per year and last up to a week. Simple canker sores usually occur in people ages 10-20. Complex canker sores are less common and occur more often in those who have previously had canker sores.

The exact cause of most canker sores is still unknown, unfortunately. Simple canker sores can be triggered by stress or tissue injury. Certain acidic foods can trigger or make canker sores worse, including lemons, oranges, pineapples, and strawberries. Sometimes a sharp tooth or dental appliance can cause a canker sore.

Complex canker sores can also be caused by an underlying health condition, including a weak immune system, nutritional deficiencies, and gastrointestinal tract diseases like celiac disease or Crohn’s disease.

Diode Laser Treatment

Diode Laser MachineIf you’re suffering from cold sore pain or a canker sore, don’t let it get the best of you! Our laser treatment is painless and only takes 5-10 minutes to stop a sore in its tracks. Our diode laser treatment can provide immediate relief from pain and discomfort, stop the infection from progressing, and instantly begin the healing process to drastically reduce healing time.

Many of our patients find their cold or canker sores will have disappeared in a matter of days, rather than a few weeks had they left it untreated. Laser treatment can even help prevent sores from reoccurring in the future! Our diode laser can also be used to treat fever blisters, canker sores, bite trauma on the tongue and cheek, and painful burns of the mouth/lips.

So the question really isn’t ‘why should you get your cold sore treated,’ it’s ‘why wouldn’t you!?’

Frequently Asked Questions

Does it hurt during the treatment?
During treatment some people feel nothing.  Others may experience a warm sensation.

Are there any side effects?
Absolutely no side effects!  It is safe to use on infants.

Will it look different after?
Immediately following the laser treatment, although the healing has started and the pain is gone, the lesion will appear the same. You will see a visual difference in 16-24 hours.

What do I do after the treatment?
The best thing is to help your body fight the herpes virus.  Dose up on your vitamins; drink your green drinks and rest!

Do cold sores mean you have a Sexually Transmitted Infection?
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. There are two types of the herpes simplex virus. The herpes simplex type 1 virus (HSV-1) usually causes cold sores, and the herpes simplex type 2 virus (HSV-2) usually causes genital herpes.

The actual sores are similar in appearance for both forms of the virus. It’s also possible for HSV-1 to cause sores on the genitals and for HSV-2 to cause sores on the mouth.

Visible cold sores are contagious, but they may be spread even when they can’t be seen. You can get the herpes simplex virus by coming in contact with infected individuals. This may happen through kissing, sharing cosmetics, or sharing food. Oral sex may spread both cold sores and genital herpes.

How long to cold sores last?
If not treated with the Diode laser, the first outbreak can last up to 2 weeks.. There’s no cure for cold sores, but with our laser therapy you will pain free and healed in 2-5 days.

How Does the laser work?
Laser treatment seals the nerve endings giving immediate relief from itching, burning, tingling or pain and it biostimulates the area encouraging quicker healing.  In the case of the herpetic lesion (cold sore), the viral particles are destroyed resulting in the transformation of the lesion from the active to the healing phase. If the herpetic lesion can be treated during the prodromal stage (the first signs of development) we can stop the lesion from ever manifesting.

Why haven’t creams and ointments like Abreva and Zovirax worked for me in the past?
Typical healing time with creams only works if used at the first sign of a cold sore. Our patients frequently comment on how much better the laser therapy works and they do not use any creams or ointments any more.

How do I protect my family, when I have a cold sore?
To prevent transmission and avoid spreading the virus, the following can be practiced:

  • Avoid touching, scratching, or picking at cold sores. Touching them transfers the virus to the hands, allowing it to spread to the fingers, eyes, and to other people.
  • Wash their hands frequently. This can help keep the virus off the hands, and so from being spread.
  • Avoid sharing drinks, utensils, lip products, toothpaste, towels, or any items that might touch the mouth, especially when a sore is present.
  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with others when cold sores are present. This includes kissing, sexual contact, and contact sports.

What are the stages of a cold sore?
A cold sore goes through five stages:

  • Stage 1: Tingling and itching occurs about 24 hours before blisters erupt.
  • Stage 2: Fluid-filled blisters appear.
  • Stage 3: The blisters burst, ooze, and form painful sores.
  • Stage 4: The sores dry out and scab over causing itching and cracking.
  • Stage 5: The scab falls off and the cold sore heals.

What if I am pregnant/breastfeeding with a cold sore, is it safe to be treated with a laser?
Absolutely! There are no contraindications for treating pregnant or breastfeeding women.  It is also safe to use on children.

Why am I getting a cold sore?
According to the Mayo Clinic, 90 percent of adults worldwide test positive for the herpes simplex type 1 virus. Once you have the virus, certain risk factors may reactivate it such as:

You’re at risk of getting a cold sore if you come in contact with the fluid of a cold sore through kissing, sharing foods or drinks, or sharing personal care items such as toothbrushes and razors. If you come in contact with the saliva of someone who has the virus, you can get the virus, even if there are no visible blisters.

Let's Get Started

If you have any questions about laser cold sore and canker sore treatment or would like to schedule an appointment with your Denver dentist, Dr. Paini at Advanced Aesthetic Dentistry, please contact our Downtown Denver dental office today, or request an appointment online!

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