Infection Prevention and Control Policy regarding Cold Sores

At HollowBrook Dental, as part of our Infection Prevention and Control Policy, we ask patients that if you have had a cold sore for less than 2 weeks, please reschedule any non-emergency dental treatment or hygienist appointments until 10 to 14 days after the cold sore has healed and this contagious period has passed. This is because of the high risk of spreading the virus to other parts of your mouth, nose and eyes.

A cold sore is a small blister caused by the herpes simplex virus (usually type 1), which develops either on the lips or around the mouth. Around seven in ten people in the USA have this virus, but only one in three will have any symptoms.

A cold sore usually starts as a tingling or burning sensation around your mouth; if an antiviral cream (such as Acyclovir or Penciclovir) is applied at this stage, it may prevent the visible signs of the cold sore from appearing. At this stage we can prescribe an antiviral medication or use a laser treatment to help prevent disease progression. Otherwise, small, painful, fluid-filled blisters will appear. When these blisters burst, the cold sore weeps a highly contagious fluid of viral particles; this stage is very infectious and painful. Cold sores are infectious and the virus can be passed on to others within close contact. It is important to avoid touching your cold sore, as this will spread the virus on to others. If you do touch the affected area, you must wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. After several days a scab will form, protecting the new skin beneath. The scab may dry, crack and bleed, but moisturizing may help reduce this. After 10-14 days the cold sore will have healed.

If you notice a cold sore forming and you have an appointment with us, please give our office a call at (719) 633-0049 with as much notice as possible, and we can reschedule any treatment.

Thank you for your time and as always, our patients’ safety and well-being are our top priority. We have built our reputation by providing high-quality dental care in a compassionate, comfortable and safe environment and look forward to helping you and your family.

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