Friday, June 09, 2006

Gimme a Break!

I’ve been sick with an infection for over a month. I had surgery this morning to clean out my gums where my lower left wisdom tooth was extracted last August. This is the second infection since my surgery ten months ago. I had a chronic problem with infection in the area off and on for more than a year prior to having it extracted. I waited because I read that pericoronitis is often a problem with erupting wisdom teeth, which can be resolved with antibiotics. Due to recurrent infections, the oral surgeon recommended that I have my upper and lower left wisdom teeth removed, so that I could heal and move on with my life. I waited a while to have it removed due to the fact that my mom was hospitalized with leukemia.

My oral surgeon can’t figure out why I have another infection in the area, since my gums looked like they healed well. Two panoramic X-rays revealed that there were no bone fragments or pieces of tooth left behind. I’m not sure why my neck under the site is swollen, as well as the lymph nodes on the entire left side of my neck, after being on antibiotics for a month. My regular physician sent me to the ER for a CT scan two days ago, which revealed that I didn’t have a visible abscess. It doesn’t explain why the infection became so uncomfortable in my jaw, throat, neck and chest or why it just won’t seem to go away.

I take the antibiotic every eight hours as directed. I’ve been eating well and exercising. I also take daily multivitamins and get plenty of sleep. I have very good oral hygiene. I brush thoroughly 3xs per day and use mouthwash. I have even been rinsing my mouth out with warm salt water, but the infection has persisted.

Despite not having an abscess, my oral surgeon decided to make an incision in my gums down to the bone and clean and drain them. I was terrified and the procedure was stressful to put it mildly. Fortunately, I’m still numb. Thankfully, he found no sign of infection in the area and said that the jawbone healed beautifully.

He gave me one loose stitch, so that it can continue to drain while it heals and told me to rinse with warm water and continue the antibiotics that my doc prescribed. He said to come back next Tuesday for a check up.

He is questioning whether I have a problem with the infection getting trapped in my parotid or mandibular arteries or if there is an infection in the bone. However, we are hoping that this procedure will clear the infection and that it won’t recur or I’ll have to have further testing to figure out what is going on with my body.

It has been very frustrating and scary and painful. The antibiotics have some nasty side effects when taken for long periods of time, but for now the benefits outweigh the risks. I want to be completely healthy again more than anything. I’m really tired of functioning despite being ill. It takes the joy and relaxation out of life. I want to be able to do things without feeling the aching, stinging and itching pressure in my jaw--and without having a sore throat, sinuses, neck, head and chest.

Prior to dealing with wisdom tooth issues, I never had any major health problems. I had seen my physician about three times in the past decade. I had never been admitted to the hospital other than to give birth to my two gorgeous and healthy babies and was discharged the next day. I never appreciated being healthy, but now I am desperate for restoration. I want to be a healthy and happy mommy, so that I can do fun things with my family.


MarkHL said...

Just thought I'd return the "Hi fellow philly blogger" :)

Although I should wish you better oral health as well given the posting.

Hope you feel better!

Andy Land said...

Man that sucks. Hope things get better for you soon.

brklnsosn said...

Thank you Jessica.............hope you're getting better and better day by day,minute after minute!

PaxRomano said...

I've had ton of dental work done over the last three years. I had a similar problem with recurring infections in the jaw (after dental surgery) and they could find nothing. I finally took a series of antibiotics via injections and that did the trick. No problems since then.

Good luck, don't fret too much over this.

Jessica said...

Thanks, guys.

Pax, maybe I should ask about getting them, too. Thanks!

Arizona33 said...

Hi Jessica, 3 years ago I had to have 8 teeth removed and my jawbone scraped because of infection even though I had gone to the dentist every 3-6 months for cleanings and once a year x rays since I was a kid. They always said I had very little plaque and did a good job brushing.

The problem was the bacteria left behind from when I had my wisdom teeth pulled out when I was 12 years old. (apparently some is normally left behind) but because as they later found out I had"sticky blood", the bacteria that normally flushes itself out of the pocket where the widsom teeth were pulled build up over time. The bacteria didn't show up for 20 years on the xrays and unfortunately for me I injured my knee and before I had a chance to get my "cavitations" done (to clean out the bacteria in those old wisdom teeth pockets), the stress from the knee pain caused my blood pressure to rise and push all that bacteria out into my system. It rotted my jaw and several of my teeth and made me sick as a dog. I had excruitating headaches and my face and side of head became extremely painful. Also my neck swelled and so did my lymph glands.

Long story short, don't fool around with infections of the jaw. All of mine could have been avoided possib ly if I immediately went for the cavitations once they showed up on the xray (I actually had them scheduled but then injured my knee).

Don't fool around. There's only 2 doctors in this country that have this special machine that can measure the bacterial damage being done to your teeth and jaw. I forget the name of the machine but a veteran came up with the idea since he got so sick from bacteria in the mouth that also didn't show up for 20 or so years.

It's kind of a weird test, they put aloe vera gel on your cheeks and inside your mouth (doesn't taste bad just kind of mushy)and move a round shaped object over your cheek to make the photos. Later the doc will show them to you and you can see for yourself in color the damage that is or is not being done by the bacteria in your jaw and which and how much or not your teeth/jaw are rotting.

I don't know the other dr. on the west coast but the dr. on the east coast is named Dr. Lowel Weiner and the phone no. where you can reach him is 202 237-7000. It takes a while to get an appointment usually and plan on being there 1/2 a day but it is worth it if you can prevent the pain and suffering I went through. Not to mention the money Over $10,000.00 to get the infection out. The cavitations alone would have been around $1200.00 for each wisdom tooth pocket cleaning so don't wait and it's worth the money to spend cleaning your cavitations or you can really pay for it in the end. I was off work for 7 months with this infection stuff so don't wait!!

Good luck