Cold Sore Policy


As part of our Infection Prevention and Control we ask patients that if you have a cold sore (caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus) for less than 2 weeks, please reschedule any non-emergency dental or hygiene treatment until after this contagious period has passed.  If urgent treatment is required our clinicians will request that your cold sore is protected with a cold sore plaster which we can provide, to minimise the risk of cross infection.

Cold sores are common for many people in the UK.  The Herpes Simplex virus is contagious and poses a risk of spreading to other areas of your face and to others including our team whilst you are being treated.  It is spread through contact, either directly through saliva or through being in an aerosol and carried in air eg through dental or hygiene treatments, before making contact.  Infection through contamination to the eyes can be particularly severe.

Cold sores often emerge as a small ulcer-like patch on or surrounding the lip line or nose boarder; they can come up in a matter of hours and usually take between seven days and four weeks to heal, depending on the severity.  From the time they begin to emerge to the point at which they are fully healed they pose a contagion risk, even if they feel comfortable after applying topical medication.

Dental procedures, including hygiene procedures, should be deferred if you have an active lesion, both to protect yourself from the risk of spreading your infection, and to others.  If you do attend your appointment we may have to defer your treatment appointment due to this risk.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your understanding.  If you are unsure whether to attend please telephone our reception team who will then seek advice from your dentist or hygienist/therapist.