Cold Sores and Your California Dental Appointment

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Also known as fever blisters, cold sores are the result of contracting the herpes simplex type one virus. This virus is located in your nerves but causes damage to your skin. It produces sores in and around your face, mainly your mouth, that remains present and active for about a week. In extreme instances, cold sores may also show up on other areas of your skin.

What Are Cold Sores?

Cold Sores and Your California Dental Appointment

This virus passes from person to person very easily. It spreads by simply making contact with the bodily fluids or the skin of a person infected with HSV-1. Approximately 67 percent of the population carries the HSV-1 infection, but only a portion of the infected produce cold sores. This is due to various combinations of particular genetic factors combined with the presence of a trigger like stress, a fever, or an excess of exposure to the sun that causes these outbreaks to be visible in only certain people. 

HSV-1 is able to be controlled but there is no cure. Prescription antiviral creams can shorten limit the duration of an outbreak, and over-the-counter creams can help with the symptoms. 

When to See a Doctor

Although they are highly contagious, cold sores are rarely dangerous. There are, however, some rare cases that demand examination by a medical specialist, such as:

  • You have had a cold sore for more than a week and it hasn’t scabbed over
  • You have a cold sore that impedes your ability to swallow or speak
  • Your cold sore outbreak comes with a fever
  • You undergo a second outbreak of cold sores

Should I Keep My Dental Appointment if I Have a Cold Sore?

No, the appropriate thing to do is to cancel your appointment and reschedule at a more suitable time. Due to the fact that cold sores are indicative of an infection with an extremely contagious virus, there is a very real danger of it being spread to other people if you are in the middle of an active outbreak. 

We understand that you may be reluctant to cancel your appointment with us, the associates at our San Marcos dental office will appreciate your consideration for their health. Simply call our office and be upfront regarding your reason for dropping your appointment. Remember, cold sores typically last one to two weeks, so keep this in mind when selecting your next appointment date. 

At McBride Dental, we provide a full range of dental services that help our patients maintain healthy teeth and gums. Only through routine dental appointments and diligent oral care can you keep your teeth healthy and functional.

The professional staff at the San Marcos offices of Dr. Michael McBride are able to answer any questions you may have regarding cosmetic or restorative dentistry, as well as various common dental procedures. As always, we offer sedation dentistry as an option for our patients with extreme dental anxiety.

We can assist you in establishing good oral health habits to ensure that your teeth are always there when you need them and your smile always looks perfect.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with us, please give us a call at (760) 471-1003 and speak with a member of our dental staff today.


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