Posted in rheumatoid arthritis

Would you believe it was a toothache all along?


A tooth abscess to be exact and it wreaked a lot more havoc than I anticipated because I did not realize there was a problem until it was too late. Yesterday, the tooth pain started but I had been feeling its affects for about a month now.

A dental abscess is an infection of the mouth, face, jaw and/or throat that begins as a tooth or cavity. In most cases, it has to do with poor dental health but it can happen to people with autoimmune diseases regardless of how well they care for their teeth. In my case, I worried about my teeth all the time and took really good care of them especially after my RA diagnosis. A dental abscess can also make you generally ill, with nausea, vomiting, fevers, chills, and sweats. It all started with that migraine a few weeks ago that kept lingering.

The irony of all of this is that I did not have any tooth pain at least until yesterday. A year ago I had a root canal done and my last visit for my cleaning and exam was in November and my next exam is next week. The last exam showed nothing that was a problem and because I have an autoimmune disease, I am at a higher risk for these things as anyone with an autoimmune disease is.

I thought I was having sinus issues, with the nausea, fever, chills, sweats, neck, eye, and ear pain. Probably even the mood swings. Then yesterday, the pain in my mouth started and not even in the area where the problem was either. By the time evening and my appointment rolled around, my cheek was swelled up. The dentist prescribed antibiotics and said he was hoping to we could save the molar but he did not think we would. I am going to take the antibiotics until my appointment next week when a decision can be made about whether the molar can be saved.

Most likely, I am going to lose the tooth but I am relieved that it was not worse. My dentist told me it is a good thing I came in when I did because apparently dental abscess can lead to brain abscess if left untreated. He also could not believe that yesterday was the first day I experienced pain in my mouth and how I put up with the headache, eye and ear pain and other symptoms for as long as I did. I guess when you live with pain; your pain threshold is much higher than people who don’t.

I am hoping the swelling starts to go down soon because this is no way to live. I will be glad when this issue is resolved because the thought of the worst case scenario sends shivers down my spine. This goes to how important oral health is to those of us who suffer from autoimmune diseases.

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2 thoughts on “Would you believe it was a toothache all along?

  1. That is always my fear..I have a lot of TMJ pain and I always wonder if it's my teeth or the joint itself.I'm glad that they finally found the cause of your recent pain. I hope that once the swelling recedes life will go back to "normal" for you pain wise!Hang in there!

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