Shingles generally affects the skin on one side of the body somewhere between the buttocks and head and leads to pain along with a blistering rash. It only rarely affects the mouth, but can be painful when it does. Managing shingles in the mouth is similar to managing other forms of shingles and involves a combination of antiviral drugs, corticosteroids and painkillers.
Visit your physician to confirm a diagnosis of shingles, especially if symptoms are only occurring in your mouth. They may be caused by an infection or condition other than shingles.
Use antiviral (acyclovir, valacyclovir or famciclovir) drugs and corticosteroids as prescribed. The treatment for shingles can last for up to three weeks, and it is important to complete the full course of treatment.
Establish a regimen for pain relief with your doctor. She may prescribe narcotic painkillers if your pain is very severe. It is better to be on a pain relief schedule to avoid unnecessary pain experienced between doses.
Let your doctor know about pain that lasts after the blisters in your mouth have cleared up. This is an indication of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), a complication of shingles that requires additional prescription pain remedies.
Ask your doctor about the shingles vaccine. It can be used in people who have already had one incidence of shingles to help reduce the chances of another flareup.
Do not use topical agents not intended for ingestion when managing shingles in the mouth. Check manufacturer's instructions or ask you doctor is a medication is appropriate to use within the mouth.