Cold sores and canker sores may seem like minor oral health problems, but for sufferers, they can be very aggravating. Cold sores are unsightly, and occasionally painful, lesions on the lips, while canker sores are uncomfortable blisters inside the mouth. There is nothing you can do to prevent either from occurring, but there are steps you can take to lessen the impact. Your Lake Orion dentist, Dr. Brad Greenfield, discusses the causes of cold and canker sores and what you can do if one should pop up.
Cold sores are the result of the easily transmitted herpes simplex-1 virus. Unlike the herpes simplex-2 virus, simplex-1 is not a sexually transmitted disease, and indeed, most people who catch the virus usually acquire it in early childhood. Once contracted, the virus will always be in the body. For many people with the virus, it will occasionally cause small blisters to break out on the lips or inside the mouth. Usually, the blisters will eventually combine into one large blister that will persist for up to a week and a half. While the blisters are generally not painful, they are often noticeable. After the outbreak runs its course, the cold sore disappears, rarely leaving any scarring behind. What exactly causes an outbreak is unknown, but some of the suspected triggers include stress and fever.
Even though many people tend to lump cold sores and canker sores together as one condition, they actually have two separate causes. In fact, the exact cause of canker sores has yet to be discovered, though a viral infection is not considered likely. Canker sores result in a small, but often very painful, lesion inside of the mouth. Like cold sores, canker sores will usually last for about a week and a half to two weeks before fading. Depending on the location, canker sores can make eating, drinking, and basic oral hygiene quite agonizing.
Treatment With Your Lake Orion Dentist
While a cold sore outbreak can’t be stopped, it can sometimes be lessened. Outbreaks are usually preceded by tingling or soreness in the spots of previous outbreaks. Your Lake Orion dentist can recommend over-the-counter treatments that you can start as soon as you feel one coming on. Unfortunately, there is no known way to prevent a canker sore from forming, but over-the-counter oral pain medications usually work very well to numb the pain.
If you are having oral health issues, call Lake Orion Family Dentistry at 248-693-6213 today to schedule an appointment. We proudly serve families from Clarkston, Auburn Hills, Oxford, and Rochester Hills, as well as many other areas in southeast Michigan.