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Should I Cancel My Dental Check-Up If I Have a Cold Sore?
It has been on the agenda for months: your dental check-up. You have taken time off from work for your appointment, kept up with daily brushing and flossing and prepared any questions for your dentist. But then a dreaded cold sore pops up, and you are worried that you will have to try to squeeze a new appointment into your busy schedule.
But do you have to cancel your visit if you happen to have a cold sore? It depends on a number of factors, particularly relating to your dentist.
The problems with a cold sore
According to Registered Dental Hygienist Magazine, cold sores, or the herpes simplex virus, is a risk to everyone because it is easily spread via open wounds or by sharing drinking bottles or eating utensils. Cold sores are generally painful and are swollen and filled with fluid.
Cold sores first appear as a fluid-filled blister. The cold sore later dries out and finally becomes a scab. At each stage of the cold sore development, there is a risk of it bursting, cracking or bleeding. So in a dental check-up setting, where dentists and dental hygienists have their gloved hands and tools in and around your mouth, it can put the sore in an even more risky state. Plus, cold sores are contagious, and if the blisters burst or the scab bleeds during the visit, it could become a health risk for yourself and others.
What to do before the dental check-up
Before the dental check-up, it is crucial to call the dentist’s office to talk about your cold sore. Dentists will often have different preferences, with some willing to carefully perform the check-up despite the sore and others preferring to reschedule to prevent any pain that could accompany the cracking or bleeding of a cold sore. Talk to your dentist to confirm whether they can continue with the dental check-up. If the sore is fresh, though, it might be in your best interest to just go ahead and reschedule the appointment.
After consulting with your dentist and receiving the all-clear to come to your scheduled dental check-up, be sure to take proper medication to help the cold sore heal as much as possible before the appointment. Keep the mouth area clean, and do not pick or poke at the sore.
Also, keep your lips moisturized with medicated lip balm, and drink plenty of fluids to speed up healing prior to your dental check-up. The more you take care of the sore beforehand, the less painful your dental office visit will be.
For many people, cold sores are a fact of life. Even so, the common cold sore is not necessarily a reason to stress over an upcoming dental check-up. Take proper medication, and talk to your dentist to determine whether you should move forward with the original appointment or plan to reschedule for after the sore has healed.
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