Cold sores, sometimes called fever blisters, are made up of a small cluster of blisters that commonly form on the lips, the corners of the mouth, or inside the mouth. Cold sores can be painful and unattractive, causing you to be in pain and embarrassed. Cold sores generally heal within a few days, but it’s common for them to last up to two weeks.
Since cold sores can be caused by trauma to the mouth, orthodontic appliances may make you more vulnerable to cold sores. Braces can also make cold sores more difficult to care for, which can be frustrating.
How Cold Sores Spread
Cold sores are the most contagious when the blisters are active. Cold sores can spread through skin-to-skin contact, sharing lip gloss, eating from the same utensils as or kissing an infected person.
The first symptoms of a cold sore appear around 20 days after you get the virus. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, and swollen lymph nodes. It’s also common to feel itching, tingling, or burning around the site for the cold sore. A few hours after the symptoms begin, you may see small red bumps; these will form the cold sore blisters.
Lessening Cold Sore Symptoms
Cold sores will start to heal by themselves within a few days without any treatment. However, if they are causing embarrassment or are especially painful, there are a few prescription treatments you can use, generally in the form of ointments and creams. These can help to decrease the duration and size of the cold sore.
There is not a cure for the herpes simplex virus. But, with treatment and care, there are ways that you can lessen the frequency and severity of your outbreaks during your orthodontic treatment. It’s also important for you to know when a cold sore may be forming so that you can avoid infecting others.
If you’re suffering from outbreaks of cold sores, please contact Kuhni Orthodontic Studio at our Spanish Fork, Utah office. We may be able to help you deal with the symptoms of cold sores during your orthodontic treatment!