Clinical Oral Investigations

, Volume 17, Issue 8, pp 1961–1964 | Cite as

Herpes simplex virus reactivation and dental procedures

  • L. El Hayderi
  • P. Delvenne
  • E. Rompen
  • J. M. Senterre
  • A. F. NikkelsEmail author
Short Communication



Dental extraction is reported to trigger recurrent herpes labialis (RHL).


This aims to prospectively study the clinical occurrence of RHL and the oral herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) viral shedding before and 3 days after different dental procedures.

Materials and methods

Oral HSV-1 DNA was measured by real-time PCR before and 3 days after dental procedures of the inferior dentition in 57 immunocompetent patients (mean age 32.4 years) who were selected and divided into four distinct subgroups (dental inspection without anesthesia, n = 19; dental filling under local anesthesia, n = 14; molar extraction under local anesthesia, n = 15; and molar extraction under general anesthesia, n = 9) and compared to 32 healthy controls (mean age 33 years).


None of the patients suffered from RHL at day 3. Oral HSV-1 DNA was detected before and after procedure in 1.7 % (1/57) and 5.3 % (3/57), respectively [dental inspection without anesthesia, 5.3 % (1/19); molar extraction under local anesthesia, 6.7 % (1/15); and molar extraction under general anesthesia, 11 % (1/9)]. None of the controls presented RHL or detectable oral HSV-1 DNA. There was no statistically significant difference between the study groups and controls.


Molar extraction increases the risk of oral HSV-1 shedding but not of RHL. Procedure-related nerve damage probably accounts for HSV reactivation.

Clinical relevance

Antiviral prophylaxis for RHL is not routinely recommended for dental procedures, regardless of a prior history of RHL.


Herpes simplex virus Herpes labialis Dental extraction Anesthesia Triggering factors 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. El Hayderi
    • 1
  • P. Delvenne
    • 2
  • E. Rompen
    • 3
  • J. M. Senterre
    • 4
  • A. F. Nikkels
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of DermatologyUniversity Medical Center LiègeLiègeBelgium
  2. 2.Department of PathologyUniversity Medical Center LiègeLiègeBelgium
  3. 3.Department of DentistryUniversity Medical Center LiègeLiègeBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Clinical BiologyCHR CitadelleLiègeBelgium

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