Laser treatments For Cold Sores/Herpetic Lesions

Laser Treatments for Aphthous Ulcers and Canker Sores

What are canker sores?

Canker sores are painful sores that present as whitish-grey areas surrounded by a bright red area. They tend to occur more frequently in women than men, and can occur at any age.  These sores usually appear on the surface of the gums, roof of the mouth, cheeks, lips and tongue.  These sores are completely benign.

What causes canker sores?

While the exact cause of canker sores is unknown, they often occur as a result of emotional stress, hormonal changes or trauma to the tissue.  This may be a sharp tooth or dental appliance, braces, ill-fitting dentures, or even the bristles of a tooth brush.  Spicy or acidic foods or beverages can also trigger a sore or make them worse.  Canker sores may also be related to an underlying health condition or compromised immune system.  Canker sores can be linked with Iron, B-12 and folic acid deficiencies, as well as viruses and gastrointestinal tract disease.

What are the symptoms of canker sores?

Symptoms start with a tingling or burning sensation, and progress to a more painful bump or red spot that eventually becomes an open ulcer.  It is possible to develop a fever, difficulty swallowing, swollen lymph glands and a general discomfort or malaise.

How are canker sores treated?

Pain and discomfort from canker sores with improve on their own after 4-5 days, and the sores will usually heal on their own within a week or two.  Often, a prescription may be given to you by your dentist for a corticosteroid or a special rinse to help with discomfort. Salt water rinses may help as well.

Additionally, a dental soft tissue laser can be utilized as a precise and fast acting method of relieving the pain and shortening the healing time of canker sores.  Through biostimulation the light energy of the laser seals off the nerve endings and destroys the virus.  This can be done without anesthesia and relief is immediate.  This treatment takes only a few minutes, and can even be done at the onset of any symptoms (lip tingling) preventing the progression of the lesion into a sore.

After laser treatment, while recurrence is still possible, it is with less frequency and less intensity at the site of treatment.

Can canker sores be prevented?

There is no cure for canker sores, and they can recur, but you can help prevent recurrence by brushing and flossing daily to keep your mouth free of food or debris that may trigger a sore.  Avoid irritants, like spicy or acidic foods.  Also, eating healthy, reducing stress and sleeping well, will help to keep up your resistance.

Laser Treatments for Cold Sores/Herpetic Lesions

What are Cold Sores (Herpetic Lesions)?

Cold sores are groups of small blisters around the mouth or on the lips that are caused by the herpes simplex virus.  A break in the skin inside or around the mouth, gives the virus an entrance point into the body.  Contact with infected body fluid allows the virus to spread.  This can occur when sharing things like eating utensils or cups, razors or lip balm, or kissing or touching that person’s saliva.  A well-meaning kiss from a parent to child is a common way that this virus spreads.

What are the symptoms of Cold Sores?

Cold sores often first present with warning signs, also known as prodromal symptoms.  These include, fever, sore throat, or swollen glands and an itching, tingling or pain sensation on the lips and around the mouth.  A blister will soon appear and then break open and release a clear fluid. The lesion will crust over and then disappear after a week or two.

How are Cold Sores treated?

Cold sores will begin to heal on their own a few days after they appear and will usually go away within a week or two.  Despite this, cold sores are often very painful, and treatment for that is available.  Pills and ointments are commonly prescribed to lessen the uncomfortable symptoms, and will help the sore to heal a day or two faster.  Today, dental soft tissue lasers are available and are a much more effective treatment modality.

Laser treatment for cold sores is best done at the very onset of symptoms and can prevent the sore from occurring.  As soon as any of these symptoms present, call our office to schedule an appointment.  Even if the sore is already there, laser treatment can provide relief from the discomfort of the sore and allow it to heal much faster.

The virus that causes cold sores cannot be cured.  Once you have been infected, the virus will lie dormant in your body for the rest of your life and will resurface from time to time.  Laser treatment can reduce the number and severity of future sores.  Multiple laser treatments may stop the sores from recurring in a particular spot.

Laser treatment of cold sores is affordable and often covered by insurance.   Relief is immediate and treatment can even prevent sores if done early enough.  Photo-biostimulation allows for faster healing without further discomfort.  The treatment takes only a few minutes and can be done without anesthesia.   After treatment sores are less frequent and less severe.

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