Should I Cancel My Dental Checkup If I Have a Cold Sore?

You have a dental checkup around the corner, but you have a problem. You just noticed you have a cold sore, and you are not sure if you should keep or cancel your appointment. It depends on various factors, so get the details to know how to move forward.

When to cancel a dental checkup

Those who get cold sores are familiar with the tingling feeling that occurs before the blister appears. Anyone who feels that tingling needs to cancel the checkup. After the blister appears, it is also important to avoid the dentist.

The danger of going to the dentist with an active cold sore

Many people think they are the only ones bothered by a cold sore, but the virus is contagious. Cold sores are spread through touching. Even though a dentist wears gloves, it is still possible to pass on this highly contagious virus. Since it is most contagious right before the blister forms and while the blister is present, it is important to avoid the dentist.

When to keep the checkup

Many dentists will see patients after the cold sore has started the healing process. At this point, the sores are crusted or scabbed and are less contagious. This usually occurs 7-10 days after the initial tingling.

What to consider

While people can keep an appointment when the cold sore has started the healing process, some prefer to wait. When the cold sore crusts and scabs, it can dry out, making it painful to hold the mouth open. Those who think this will impact the dental checkup are encouraged to reschedule.

Keep the dentist in the loop

Some dentists do not want to see patients with cold sore scabs. Even though these sores are not nearly as contagious at this point, they are still slightly contagious. Some dentists will want to reschedule the dental checkup. Contact the dentist at least 24 hours in advance to talk about the situation.

Speeding up recovery

Those who have a dental appointment on the horizon that they want to keep might be able to speed up the healing process. Antiviral medications can reduce the severity of the attack. These medications also have the power to reduce the frequency of cold sores, meaning those who take them might get cold sores less often.

Over-the-counter medications are also available. Topical remedies reduce pain and promote healing. Look for medications that contain phenol and menthol when shopping for over-the-counter remedies. These ingredients reduce the cracking associated with cold sores, making it more comfortable to go to the dentist after the sore heals.

The bottom line

Cold sores are highly contagious, so choose wisely when keeping a dental checkup. Most dentists are happy to reschedule with patients who are suffering from cold sores. They want to protect themselves and their staff while providing you with oral care. Examine the stage of the cold sore and make an informed decision about your appointment.

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