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Same-Day Starts, Braces, and Consultations Available!

Your Top-Rated Orthodontist in
Charleston, SC, For Braces & Invisalign

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Cold sores and fever blisters are two names for one annoying ailment. These small groups of blisters can form inside your mouth or lips but more frequently show up around your mouth and around your lips and nose. They can not only be painful but embarrassing too. They generally last only a few days but can persist for weeks in some cases.

This means getting a cold sore and braces can be even more painful, as the sores could be rubbed and inflamed by your appliance. Even sores on the outside can add to your self-image challenges while wearing braces. Continue reading to learn about cold sores, how to spot them, and what you can do.

Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.

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What Causes Cold Sores?

Cold sores most commonly result from a minor viral infection. They form around your lips or on the inside of your mouth after coming in contact with the virus. After a while, the sores open and scab over, which signals the healing process.

They are most commonly caused by a virus known as herpes simplex virus (type 1) or HSV-1. It can spread from person to person through kissing, close contact, or any shared oral items such as lip gloss, lipstick, utensils, or cups. It’s often hard to pinpoint the origins of the infection, since sores do not develop for at least 20 days after contact.

In addition to the sores, you may experience any of these uncomfortable symptoms:

  • Low-grade fever
  • Persistent headache
  • Fatigue
  • Itching or burning
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Since these are non-conclusive symptoms that could be related to any number of conditions, including other types of infections, it’s important to speak with our doctor about any symptoms you may have.

In addition to a viral infection, cold sores can be caused by diet changes or a sunburn.

Considerations for Patients Wearing Braces

Patients with braces can contract the virus that causes cold sores and inflame an already uncomfortable situation. On top of that, self-image troubles with braces won’t likely be improved with an infection of cold sores.

People with braces need to be aware of their contagious condition so they don’t spread it to others. Make sure to wash your hands while adjusting your braces, flossing, or touching the area around your mouth to contain the virus.

Your braces do not cause cold sores, however, an outbreak of cold sores can be worsened by stress or certain foods. Make sure to follow your doctor’s diet protocols while wearing braces and avoid super sugary and acidic foods. This will not only keep your braces clean, but will also help you prevent and deal with cold sores.

What to Do About a Cold Sore

The discomfort of cold sores can be treated in several ways, depending on the severity of the outbreak, including:

  • A doctor’s prescribed antiviral medication, which can be obtained if cold sores do not heal on their own
  • OTC creams that reduce cold sore pain
  • Topicals that contain aloe vera
  • A cold compress to reduce inflammation

Ask your doctor about supplements like lysine, which may provide a way to treat stubborn cold sores naturally. While cold sores have no cure, the discomfort they cause is treatable and the sores should disappear in under a week.

Cold Sores vs Canker Sores

Many people confuse cold sores with canker sores. However, they are not the same ailment. Cold sores are caused by a viral infection while canker sores are a physical injury to the inside of your mouth. They can be caused by a sharp tooth, by biting your lip, or by your braces.

Especially when you are first getting used to your braces, the brackets may rub against your lips and cause canker sores, which are rough, white blisters on the inside of your lips that usually last about a week. They do not appear on the outside of your lips like cold sores and are not caused by a virus.

Cold sores and canker sores do have one thing in common, however, which is that highly acidic foods can make the condition worse by inflaming the area around your mouth. Consider your orthodontist’s diet recommendations as doubly important when dealing with either type of sore.

Choose Reese Orthodontics

If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you. 

Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.

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Easy Ways To Get Started

If you want to learn more about our orthodontic practice - where we offer extensive experience with a Board Certified Orthodontist, where we offer a satisfaction guarantee, and where we offer flexible payment options - Reese Orthodontics is here to serve you.

"Dr. Reese and staff share an inviting personality with a clean and professional atmosphere. I am very happy with the service, the product and the final result. I would encourage any of my friends and family to consult with Dr. Reese around their Orthodontic needs."
- Austin H.
"It has been a great experience all around getting braces at Dr. Reese Orthodontics. It's a great office with wonderful and friendly staff. I am extremely happy with the results. Can't say enough good things about Dr. Reese and his staff. I highly recommend him!"
- Nicole S.
"Dr. Reese and his staff was referred to me by a friend, and I highly recommend them! They were friendly, professional, helpful and quick to respond. I could not be happier with the results of Invisalign. I wore them about 7 months and my teeth are as straight as can be. Thank you for the great care and results!"
- Dancy E.
"I chose the absolute perfect orthodontist to perfect my smile. Dr. Reese has a personality that calms you and removes the anxiety that may come with the process. Dr. Reese is a true artist. I am so excited with my new smile. Dr. Reese accomplished the goals I was looking for and I am forever grateful. Thank you Dr. Reese!!!"
- Melanie C.
"Just awesome! Dr. Reese is the one to go to. He knows what he's doing and is great at what he does. Makes you feel like family every time you go visit. I can't get over how great my smile looks now. Definitely recommended."
- Harsha P.
*The reviews listed are from actual patients of Reese Orthodontics.
Individual results may vary. Reviews are not claimed to represent results for everyone.
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Our Charleston
Orthodontic Office

2057 Charlie Hall Blvd. STE D
Charleston, SC 29414


Office Hours:

Monday - Thursday: 8:00AM - 5:00PM

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Dr. Reese McElveen, our award-winning orthodontist in Charleston, South Carolina has transformed the smiles of over 11,000 patients. Reese Orthodontics offers the most advanced orthodontic care for children and adults. Types of braces and orthodontic treatment include metal braces, clear braces, gold braces, Invisalign, Invisalign Teen, Damon Braces, SureSmile. Dr. Reese can even help you achieve your confident smile faster with AcceleDent.

Call 843.573.7279 today to schedule your appointment with our board certified orthodontist in Charleston, SC, at our conveniently located Charleston orthodontic office. Come experience Reese Orthodontics and you will see for yourself that we offer innovative and effective orthodontic care in Charleston, Downtown Charleston, West Ashley, James Island, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, Johns Island, Goose Creek, Hanahan and Ladson, South Carolina (SC).