April 15, 2023

Diode laser for treatment of herpetic lesions (cold sores), apthous ulcers (canker sores), muscle pain (strains, tension, trigger points)

Lamb Medical & Aesthetics now provides treatment for cold sores (herpes lesions, herpes labialis), canker sores (apthous ulcers), TMJ disorders and trigger points with a diode laser – low level laser light. 

What oral lesions does the Diode Laser treat?

Apthous ulcers (canker sores) and herpetic lesions are common oral diseases, which can be very painful and unsightly. Traditionally these lesions are treated with antiviral medications such as Acyclovir or difficult to apply oral gels and steroids such as Dexamethasone, which came with a variety of undesired side effects and delayed results. The Diode laser is a fast, effective way to treat herpes lesions and canker sores.

What is a cold sore?

Herpes Labialis is commonly known as a cold sore or fever blister. The lesion that forms on the lip is caused by the herpes virus (HSV-1) that lies dormant inside a nerve cell and when released into the surrounding tissues, causes the lesion to break out. The lesions are usually characterized by visible fluid filled blisters that can occur around the lip line and around the mouth.  Most people are exposed to the HSV-1 virus in childhood, however, only a small percentage develop recurrent painful, unsightly lesions.

What triggers a cold sore? 

Unlike most viral infections, herpes outbreaks recur with regular frequency. Although there are many triggering factors, sun exposure, trauma to the lip, illness (hence the name cold sore), and stress are the most common.

How can these lesions be treated?

We can help you quickly lessen the embarrassment, pain, and discomfort of these unsightly lesions. Most people will get a tingling or burning sensation 24 to 36 hours in the area where the lesion will develop. Valtrex or Acyclovir, both (anti-viral medications), are very helpful at this stage of development by minimizing the lesion resulting in accelerated healing, but neither have the same long-term, positive effect as laser treatment of the lesion.

Treatment should occur as soon as possible after symptoms appear. If the lesion is treated at the “tingling or prodromal” stage – before an actual breakout – you may not experience a breakout at all, or you may experience less of a breakout than you usually experience. If you are already experiencing a breakout we can still treat the affected area and you will experience immediate pain relief and jump start the healing process. The laser destroys the viral particles resulting in the transformation of the lesion from the active to the healing phase.

Treatment takes only a few minutes and requires no anesthetic. Pain from the cold sore or herpetic lesion will be reduced or eliminated immediately after the laser treatment.

Does the Diode laser cure cold sores or canker sores?

The diode laser will often decrease the frequency of recurrent cold sores or canker sores in the treated area. It may take several treatments, but if we can treat the area each time symptoms start with our diode laser you should experience less breakouts, smaller breakouts, or you may not have a breakout in this area again.

Once treated with the laser, the pain and discomfort stop immediately. Laser treated lesions take 4-6 days to heal (versus 10-14+ days for an untreated lesion) and rarely leaves any scarring or visible evidence that the procedure was completed after the lip has healed. If a lesion recurs after laser treatment, it is generally smaller, less severe and can be retreated with laser. Currently, there are no definitive cures for either condition, however, diode laser treatments can help significantly shorten the healing period and in some instances stop the recurrence of the lesion.

How does treatment of canker sores work?

With low level laser light treatment these lesions can be effectively treated in a short 30 min appointment without the need of anesthetic injections. Clinical research studies have shown that 75% of patients treated with Diode lasers reported a reduction in pain in the same session and total elimination of the lesion in as short as 4 days. Same lesions treated with traditional steroid medications took 7 days to resolve and if untreated over 14 days. Diode lasers quicker healing and reduced pain make it an ideal choice for treatment of these lesions.

What is TMJ and TMJD?

The temporomandibular (tem-puh-roe-man-DIB-u-lur) joint (TMJ) acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. You have one joint on each side of your jaw. TMJ disorders — a type of temporomandibular disorder or TMD — can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement. The masseter muscle can develop spasm from bruxism, grinding and clenching of the teeth.

What are the most common symptoms of TMJD?

  • Pain in the chewing muscles and/or jaw joint (most common symptom).
  • Pain that spreads to the face or neck.
  • Jaw stiffness.
  • Limited movement or locking of the jaw.
  • Painful clicking, popping, or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth.

What treatments can help TMJD?
The diode laser can help relax the masseter muscle and improve pain and spasm. Neuromodulators like Botox can also help. Lamb Medical offers both treatments for patients.

What are trigger points?

Trigger points are painful “knots” in your muscles that can be very sensitive to touch/pressure. They may form after acute trauma or by repetitive micro-trauma, leading to stress on muscle fibers. It causes the muscle fibers to be stuck in a contracted state. Sometimes you can feel these knots when you rub your muscle. They can persist for days if not treated.

What treatments can help trigger points?
Diode laser energy can soften the muscle knots and allow the fibers to relax providing pain relief. Neuromodulators like Botox can also help. Lamb Medical offers both treatments for patients.

If you or someone you know could benefit from treatment with the diode laser please give our office a call. We can get you in for a appointment as soon as possible.