Many people suffer from painful unsightly cold sores, also known as fever blisters or oral herpes. Most people do not realize that it impacts one third of the world’s population. This condition has historically been treated with antiviral medications, but this has not been successful in preventing reoccurrence of this painful and embarrassing condition. Cold sore medications help some individuals reduce the duration or pain of cold sores, but for most people these medications still do not prevent the outbreak of a visible sore.
“A little known treatment using a dental laser can not only take away the pain of a cold sore, but can often prevent the sore from appearing altogether if treated when the tingling first begins to occur,” says Dr. Don Crow of Crow Family Dentistry in Everett, WA. He adds, “When a sore has already started it can take away the pain instantly, and allow them to heal more quickly compared to antiviral medications, usually within 48 hours.”
Using dental lasers to treat cold sores and canker sores has not been extensively researched, but it is growing in use by dentists and many people prefer it to the use of antiviral drugs and feel that it is more effective for them personally. According to a review article published in Lasers In Medical Science, “Although these results indicate a potential beneficial use for lasers in the management of recurrent herpes labialis, they are based on limited published clinical trials and case reports. The literature still lacks double-blind controlled clinical trials verifying these effects and such trials should be the focus of future research.”
“I definitely believe in evidence-based treatment and like to have solid research to prove effectiveness of treatment before recommending things to my patients,” Dr. Crow comments, “However, the lack of side effects of this laser treatment on cold sores and canker sores is worth a try, especially if you have had poor success with other methods. My family, my dental team and I were my guinea pigs for treatment trials before I began offering it on patients. It has successfully decreased pain and or duration of sores on almost everyone.”
Dr. Don Crow and his wife, Dr. Michelle Crow both use the Waterlase MD laser for multiple procedures in their practice and this just one of the many treatments they have found it to be effective for. You can learn more at: www.everettdentist.com.