Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus, which attaches itself to the ganglion of the nerves around the outside of the mouth and other parts of the face. Under certain conditions, the virus will travel along the nerve until it reaches the surface of the skin, manifesting in a cold sore. Our dentist, Dr. Marla Wilson, and her team provide cold sore treatment in Indianapolis, Indiana.

What triggers a cold sore?

A cold sore will tend to be triggered by stress, often showing up 24 to 48 hours after a stressful episode. The stress could be big or small, physical or emotional. The first noticeable warning of a cold sore flare-up is an “aura”, an itchy tingling or burning sensation on the skin where the sore will erupt. This typically happens about 30 minutes to three hours before the appearance of the cold sore, which appears as a blistered, swollen and painful lesion. When left alone, the sore will likely stay on the face anywhere from 10 days to two weeks.

How can you treat a cold sore?

Though the herpes simplex virus stays with the body for life, there are some things that can be done to treat its symptoms and make things easier. At Premier Dental Care, we can use an advanced WaterLase® laser to significantly cut down the length of time that a lesion will spend on your face, as well as prevent it from flaring up at that location in the future.

On your own, you can also use over-the-counter ointments to keep the site lubricated and moist. This does not heal the sore or stop it from appearing, but it can prevent it from painfully cracking open.

As a home remedy, you can take supplements such as vitamin C with bioflavonoids. At the first sign of an aura before a flare-up, we recommend you take 1,000 mg of vitamin C with bioflavonoids, three times a day for three days. Keep in mind that vitamin C alone isn’t what shortens the flare-up, but the combination of vitamin C and bioflavonoids. Be sure to check the packaging of the supplement to make sure you have this combo. This treatment is filled with antioxidants and has been shown to effectively treat 70% of cold sores. If you decide to use this treatment, be advised that these supplements are water-soluble, and your body will eliminate the extra that it doesn’t need. If you have too much vitamin C in your system, your urine can become very yellow and you might have diarrhea. If this occurs, please lower your dosage.

One final home remedy is L-Lysine amino acids, a natural chemical that is the building block of proteins. At the onset of the tingling before a flare-up, you can take one capsule of an L-Lysine supplement twice a day for five days. If this is a good remedy for you, then it’s recommended that you continue to take one L-Lysine once daily and two each day you are experiencing an outbreak.

To learn more about our cold sore treatment, please give Premier Dental Care a call today at 317-787-6625 for more information.