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Tooth pain....does it always mean infection?

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OnionPatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-22-08 08:49 AM
Original message
Tooth pain....does it always mean infection?
I have a tooth that has been giving me troubles for years. Twenty years ago I had a root canal on it, then another after the first failed. Then it seemed ok for a long time, many years. About 2-3 years ago, this tooth started to hurt again. It hurts every time I push on it or touch it. It doesn't always hurt when nothing is touching it, but sometimes it does. Sometimes it just throbs for days. They gave me another root canal on it about two years ago, but it failed. Then they gave me an apicoectomy on it last year, but the pain returned. I am now scheduled to have a second apicoectomy on it in two weeks. If that doesn't work, the tooth will have to be pulled. (And I say good riddance!)

But here's the thing; The dentists keep telling me it's not infected. They don't see any infection on the x-ray. They see nothing at all wrong with the tooth on the x-ray. But my question is this....if there is no infection, and the root of the tooth is obviously dead, where is the pain coming from? What is causing the pain? The dentist says there may be a tiny bit of nerve left in the tip of the root. Ok....but I thought the nerve was infected a long time ago, hence the reason I had the root canals. :shrug: Is he saying there is a piece of uninfected nerve in there causing the pain? I am seriously confused.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-25-08 12:57 PM
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1. You monkey around with nerves long enough
and they'll start firing off pain impulses just for the hell of it. Or there could be a tiny nerve branch there they missed that's announcing its presence. Or you could have a smoldering infection that doesn't show up on Xray. Or you're getting phantom pain from the tooth, itself, the least likely but still possible. Pain is a problem, though, especially when movement increases it. It needs to be fixed, pronto.

One of the things they never tell you is that root canal teeth can still rot, especially under the gum line.

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OnionPatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-30-08 08:53 AM
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2. It's just very frustrating.
So I'm looking everywhere I can think of for some sort of answer. Thanks for responding. I'm just so worried that this dentist doesn't know what he's doing. He's been working on this tooth for two+ years without much success. He keeps telling me he doesn't see anything wrong, but clearly something is wrong. My sinuses on that side have been irritated in the area near the tooth root. Only that side of my nose gets clogged and stuffy and it get worse and better depending on how the tooth feels. In fact, I recently had sinus surgery because of the sinus symptoms I've been having. The surgeon checked to make sure there was no infection coming through into the sinus, and there was none, but she said if the sinuses didn't go back to normal soon, they could still be irritated by any tooth infection nearby. The worst part is that the clogged sinus is triggering all the migraines I've been having. (I was up half of last night with one. :( ) So this whole issue is really screwing with me. I go for another apicoectomy next week. I hope it works.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-04-09 01:47 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. If it doesn't, it's time to consider getting that puppy pulled
and trying an implant once it's healed and the area is pain free.
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OnionPatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-13-09 10:09 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Well, that puppy is gone now.
I had it pulled and prepped for an implant yesterday. And guess what.....it had a big crack in the root, a cyst at the tip of the root and there was an area where a little part of the root had been "reabsorbed" from my body trying to get rid of the irritant! I also lost bone around the area. Unbelievably, none of this was apparent on the x-ray! Another apicoectomy would have been completely useless.

So, for three years I've been walking around with this, getting procedure after procedure while my body was constantly fighting off infection leaking from that tooth. I've been feeling crappy for the whole time, catching every cold that goes around and having chronic sinus congestion and infections, which triggered migraines and on and on. The dentist agrees with me that the tooth was probably the main culprit in most of that, causing the sinus to be swollen and irritated. The infected tooth root was nearly touching the bottom of the sinus. All of this was also taxing my immune system. I'm hoping my health will start to improve a lot now. There's still the bad back, but hopefully soon I'll have more energy to do the exercises and walking I need to do for it.

Thanks for letting me rant and I wish everyone on this board will have some success, as well, in dealing with their health problems. It really sucks to have chronic health problems. There are very few places to vent without the fear of being labeled a hypochondriac.


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