Cold sores are painful and embarrassing. They’re caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which carries a serious stigma. Although nearly 60% of the adult population has oral herpes, most people are asymptomatic–and even people who are symptomatic only show intermittently. This means that when you develop a cold sore, you may feel very self-conscious and not want to be seen in public. Although these sores will typically go away on their own, they will recur.
Laser cold sore treatment can cause your sores to heal faster and may reduce the recurrence of outbreaks. If you would like to learn how you could benefit from laser cold sore treatment in Fairfax County, please call 703-323-8200 today for an appointment with cosmetic dentist Dr. Pamela Marzban in Burke, VA.
What Causes Cold Sores
Cold sores are typically a manifestation of the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), and are sometimes called herpetic lesions. This is different from the herpes virus that causes the majority of genital herpes infections, which is HSV-2. About 80% of people with cold sores have HSV-1, while about 20% of people with cold sores have HSV-2.
Although nearly 60% of US adults age 14-64 have HSV-1, not all of them develop cold sores. In fact, so many people are asymptomatic that nearly 90% of people with herpes don’t know that they have it. People may remain asymptomatic carriers for years, even decades before they develop symptoms.
So it’s not just the presence of the virus, but also likely genetic factors that make people more susceptible to outbreaks of oral herpes. In addition, people may develop cold sores after experiencing certain triggers, such as:
- Cold or flu
- Sun exposure or sunburn
- Hormonal changes including menstruation
- Dental work
Once an outbreak occurs, it can take two weeks or more for it to subside on its own, and conventional treatment doesn’t reduce this period very much.
However, laser treatment can lead to faster healing and fewer recurrent outbreaks.
Benefits of Laser Cold Sore Treatment
With laser cold sore treatment, you can appreciate many benefits, including:
- Only one or two treatments required for many people
- Fast treatment–just 5-10 minutes
- Healing within 48 hours for early stages of outbreak
- Can prevent sores if treated before sores appear
- Painless treatment
- Immediate pain relief
- Sores recur less frequently after treatment
Some laser treatments require multiple, long exposures to get results. However, we use a high-energy (but safe) laser that can knock out your cold sores right away. In studies, many people report that they felt relief from their symptoms after just one treatment and didn’t need more. Others may require more treatments.
But even if you need more treatments, these are quick, requiring just 5-10 minutes to complete. And if you get treatments starting in the early stages, you can be healed completely in just 48 hours. You may not even develop a sore if you act during the prodrome (warning stage).
The treatment itself is painless, and most people report that they get relief from their symptoms right away. Even if you require multiple treatments to achieve complete relief, it’s common for discomfort to go away quickly.
And once you’ve been treated, your time between recurrences will be extended. In one study, laser treatment extended the average time between outbreaks from three weeks to 37.5 weeks. In another study, about a quarter of patients experienced no outbreaks for a year after treatment.
Can You Benefit from Cold Sore Laser Treatment?
If you’re tired of the discomfort, embarrassment, and fear of transmission that comes with your herpes outbreaks, you should consider cold sore laser treatment.
To learn more about this exciting approach to cold sore treatment or to schedule your treatment, please call 703-323-8200 today for an appointment with Dr. Pamela Marzban in Burke, VA.