Should you visit the dentist with a cold sore?

We are very sorry, but if you have a cold sore we are not able to treat you.

All dental treatments should be deferred for patients with active lesions as the virus can spread during the procedure, placing both the patient and oral health professional at risk of possible infection or re-infection.

We recommend that you wait until the cold sore has completely healed before attending your appointment. Not only because there is a high risk of spreading the virus to other parts of your face but also because your lips may feel sore and could crack or bleed during the dental treatment.

Cold sores are caused by a highly contagious virus called Herpes Simplex Type 1 (HSV-1). They appear as clusters of red, raised blisters typically around the lips. Cold sores are highly infectious and capable of spreading to other parts of the body.

Once you have a cold sore, the virus will remain dormant in the nerves that supply feeling to the face and mouth. The virus can be subsequently reactivated by the following triggers i.e. exposure to sun, common cold, emotional stress or weakened immune system.

There have been a number of well-documented cases of oral infection and blindness once the virus is transmitted to the eyes. Hence it is crucial to treat the cold sore with antiviral cream as soon as it starts developing to reduce its outbreak and duration.

If you have a cold sore and you have an appointment arranged, please give us a call with as much notice as possible so that we can reschedule your appointment.

If you have a dental emergency that cannot be delayed without causing deterioration in your condition, we may be able to treat you with extreme caution, however this is at the discretion of the clinician.