Cold sores, or ulcerations of the mouth, are caused by multiple factors. Cold sores are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) most commonly, but they can also be caused by things like stress or trauma. Sore spots caused by mechanical trauma from aggressive brushing or poorly fitting dentures can be problematic for many people. Sore spots from trauma can last 2 weeks or longer, depending on the cause of the sore. For these ulcerations, the treatment includes careful oral hygiene so that the ulcer is not irritated further and visiting a dentist for any necessary denture adjustments.
Cold sores caused by HSV are found around the borders of the lips, hard palate, and certain parts of the gums. The virus can be dormant for long periods of time, and occasionally a patient may experience a tingling sensation prior to a cold sore outbreak. There are over the counter and prescription medications that can be applied topically or taken in tablet form to shorten the duration and severity of the cold sores. In dentistry, the use of a diode laser can be a great alternative to traditional cold sore medications. With a short and painless laser treatment, the pain associated with a cold sore is alleviated immediately, and complete healing takes place within 3-4 days. For patients who suffer from frequent and severe cold sores, laser treatment can decrease the severity and frequency of their cold sore outbreaks.
If you have an ulcer causing you discomfort, please visit your dentist and ask about dental laser treatment.
Dr. Hyatt’s Dental Corner
As your family advocate for dental care we would like to provide you with some tips on how to save your money and have a beautiful smile.