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Update: The Tmj Turned Out 2 B Abscess. Hospitalized 4 Days. Tooth Was Perfect.


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Hey yall, ok... this is a long story, but it is a weird one..... so hang tight with me.....

So... my tmj. It had been acting up for a few months up to the point that I stayed in serious pain for a couple of weeks, to the point i was walking the floors, pacing back and forth, holding a cold pack on my jaw, crying, moaning..... no sleep.... went on for 2 weeks, maybe more. I had been having issues for a few months, but it dramatically got worse, these past 2 weeks specifically.

Finally, 1 trip to er for the severe pain (and i never go to the er for pain, ever)..... I was given morphine, it didn't do anything for the pain. Was sent home still crying in pain. The next day, doc appt with DO doc, went well, but pain was back by 11 that night, called her back the next day crying in pain (and folks, i dont cry... i just. dont. cry..... so this was serious pain), after a second trip to the er for the pain. Another morphine shot, did nothing, was sent right back home stil in severe pain. Back to DO doc after that night at er. Prescribed percocet and flexeril, and we decided it was best not to do anything more on manipulating the jaw, etc and try to let things 'calm'. Got home, took the perc, felt a tad better finally. Got an hour or so of sleep that night, again, walked floors, pain, crying, and the percs were not even affecting to the point, i think i was over taking them.... but i was very delerious in pain, very very delierious in pain, constant pain, neverending pain. ***I have never, ever in my whole life, ever experienced pain on that level, nor ever though it existed on such a severe level.... so i was totally floored*** As morning came, i happened to glance in the mirror and go the shock of a lifetime.... my jaw and that side of the face was swollen so big that i was unrecognizable. I was running fever, that side of face was hot to the touch, pain was unreal.... started vomiting profusely for hours..... cried for hours, moaned, even screamed some..... by 3 pm, my face was double the size and i could not keep any percocet down at all the whole day.... pain unreal.... called my mom and told her everything and i said 'something is bad wrong.... bad wrong'..... mom was picking up the kids but was here to get me to the er for the 3rd time within mins.

Ok.... er. Thankfully i had the same er doc, who had seen me the first 2 times. I was laying on the swollen side when she walked in and she was like oh no, still in pain? I was crying, moaning, and rocking back and forth. I could not talk. My face, neck, bottom lip was so huge, so swollen that my lip was literally splitting into in places..... and, the inside of my mouth, under the toungue was so swollen that my tongue was forced to roll to the unswollen side.... even the inside of my cheek/gums where swollen times like 10. (I have pics.... man i wish i could share them on here so you could see). Anyhow.... that lovely pretty doc was like, 'still in pain huh?'..... then i turned around and she seen the face and she literally bout dropped her clipboard and said 'oh my god' as if she had never seen anything like it. She was like..... ok, we have GOT to find out what's going on here. This time, she gave me dilaudid, through an iv they started and were also giving me fluids and phenergan because i was severely dehydrated because all i could do was vomit.

Ok.... so, she and a doc from my primary doc's practice decided regardless of not really knowing what was causing this, they realized, i had a fever, my jaw was hot.... and everything else.... so they started i bag of iv antibiotics. And then..... they were going to release me with a script for antibiotics and send me home.... even though i was still in severe pain (the dilaudid only would last 2-3 hours at most)..... my mom raised cain, BIG TIME. I could not talk, I had no fight, i had no will left in me, i was tired, pain.... i just had nothing left in me.... so my mom was my advocate and she fought hard. She said she wasn't taking me anywhere and that they better get a doc in there to admit me and keep me and find out what's wrong and treat me. Good job mom..... cuz they admitted me. However, during the admitting process, i get to a room and they change my iv antibiotics to by mouth.... my mouth was SO SWOLLEN that i could not swallow, not even water. We were both mad as you could imagine. It was about 12 am when i finally got to my room and i happened to get up a couple hours later to pee and i happened to rub my inside of my gum cuz i seen a puss pocket at the base of a tooth, i pushed on it and puss came out.... i immediately got mom in there and showed her.... we called the nurse... the nurse called the doc at like 3 am and the doc was like, ok, give her such and such antibiotic pill form.... ?????????? so i left it at that.... took it.... pill form.... took it again the morning dose while still at hospital.... seen many docs... no one knew what was going on..... mri with contrast dye did not show any abscess at all, so everyone was scratching their head. They kept saying they would get an oral surgeon in to look at my jaw.... we all truly still yet, kept thinking the tmj was causing all this..... even i thought that too.

So, im well into the day and my mom was rreally (in a respectful and nice way) she really let the doctor on call have it for a good hour. I was still making no progress, fever going up, swelling getting bigger and bigger..... even the nurse was really scared and shared that with the doc herself, because now, my neck was so swollen that it was quiet scary. So... another doc from my office came in around 3 and she took ONE LOOK AT ME THE MOMENT SHE SAW ME and said 'that is not tmj.... that, is an infection and a bad one at that'..... it was in my blood stream because my skin was red and it was traveling/spreading down my neck, down my chest and you could see a difinitive line of it.... it was scary..... So... this awesome doc, put me back on mega iv antibiotics and she told nurses "do not take her off of it the whole time she's here." Sigh, finally..... someone who is getting somewhere. (That day alone, i had over 12 doctors to come in and see my face, they all kept saying, 'yea, we've all been discussing this together'.... no kidding.... (of course one was my pyschologist and she had heard about my face and wanted to make sure i was ok, which was so sweet that she came and talked with me a bit....and another one was my DO doc herself, she was so worried too and felt so responsible and cried when she saw me.... i do have some amazing doctors really, i felt so very loved by them.... and since my primary care doc couldn't be there, he sent them since i had ongoing relastionship with them as a doc/patient and they knew me pretty good by now).....

Oh, and also, going into that day, the early morning male doc, came in and took me off the dilaudid and put me on pill form percocet and morphine.... WHICH DONE NOTHING BECAUSE I COULD NOT SWALLOW.....plus, i would get chocked cuz my mouth was so swollen i could not swallow.... DUH!!! i was furious.... so when this good doc came in at 3 and said that is a bad infection and put me on the iv antibiotics for good, she was pretty upset that they took me off of the dilaudid and she put me back on it to where i could have it every 3 hours and i could also have a percocet every 6 hours.... that was a perfect combination for me and with that, i was able to make it the whole stay and be for the most part comfortable. (keep in mind, i had never had dilaudid until this hospital stay)

Now comes another mind blowing part. Day 3 in hospital..... the docs kept saying they would get an oral surgeon to come in and look at me. Well, that just could not be done. So an ear, nose and throat specialist came in.... he happened to be the one who took my tonsils out about 7 years ago, but he didn't remember me of course. Now.... all of this happened in less than 5 mins..... he looked in my mouth at my gums, which where mushy and you could tell there was puss in them.... he hands me a qtip swab with numbing stuff on it and said 'go rub this on your gums'.... and i was like 'um... ok'..... so i did. Then he said sit down on the end of the bed. I did. Then he gave me one shot in my gums to numb, BUT he IMMEDIATELY grabbed a scalpel and DID NOT let the gum numb AT ALL PEOPLE!!! He said open your mouth.... (i was like, WAIT?????? IM NOT NUMB!!!!) and then, there he went!!!! He sliced and diced my gum open with me shacking uncontrollably, with tears rolling down my face and i could feel the crunching of my gums..... AND THEN he took the scalpel and DUG very hard a hole in my gums to where the puss could drain. He handled my face and jaw so rough that it was unreal. Then he left.... all in under 5 mins....... I literally sat there, rocking back and forth while blood was pouring from my mouth on the bed and my body, head, teeth, arms, legs, everything was shaking like i was convulsing uncontrollably..... all i could do was stare straight ahead, let the tears flow, and shake uncontrollably.... i was in that much shock. The nurse came in and mom came in and they saw me like that and almost cried. They petted me, rubbed my back..... but i was seriously in shock for about 20 mins, i could not calm down, i could not stop shaking with the tremors, i could not respond...... it was aweful.

Finally, after that.... things got a bit better. My face started to go down and i was responding to the antibiotics. After 4 days in the hospital, my face was down considerably and my pain was more in control with just percocet. I asked to stay one more day to make sure the infection had not spread any further and since my chest still has a line going across it where you literally could see the infection traveling.... they agreed it would be the smartest thing to do to keep me over and still on iv antibiotics. So they did..... I done well, improved more and was released the next day.

Now, the day after i get in to see the oral surgeon. He xrays my mouth. Finds an abscess under one of my molars that had no rotting or cavity, it was a good tooth, but under it was trapped in infection/abscess. His solution? Pull it. I cried. It was a good tooth. Plus, i had been through so much trauma that i was just, i just couldn't take no more. And when it comes to my teeth, i can't stand for them to be messed with, especially one pulled.... id rather give birth to babies than have a tooth pulled. So, i had to make a quick decision and say yes, but i told him.... look, ive been through so many traumatic experiences this past week that i just cant handle this... i need something for my nerves. He suggested the happy gas and i was like ok. I wish i had known about the happy gas before now, because that stuff works miracles. After 1 min of breathing it in, i was like, BRING IT ON BABY!!!!! lol...... so he pulls the tooth and i beg to keep it, cuz its a good tooth and all. And in the hole the tooth came out of was white cottage cheese looking puss and i could also see bone too.... so that was down in my bone..... wow. How on earth does that happen????

So.... the tooth was pulled on tuesday.... im resting at home, feeling so much better. Im wore out to the gills but i feel so much better. My TMJ has calmed down too and only aches every now and again.

So.... on this tooth.... in my middle school years, i had this tooth filled with a mercury filling.... 9 mths ago, i had the mercury filling taken out and a porcelain??? filling put in there. Ever since that happened, i had pain from that specific tooth and for 9 mths i have not been able to eat on that side of the mouth and that tooth was so super sensitive.... yet, there is no indication of any decaying, etc on it. So, any theories on that????

Anyways.... that's my story..... if i had a way of posting the pics of my face and how unreal it looked i would so love to share them. Basically, docs were scratching their heads because they would look at my teeth and they all looked perfect, so then i guess they though the tmj was the whole problem..... so did I. I would have never thought i had an abscess held in by a tooth but not caused by the tooth???? Weird.

thanks for putting up with my story, but i wanted to share it....

lots of love

tennille

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Oh MY GOODNESS - Tennille. What trauma you have gone through. I'm so sorry, but also glad that you figured out what was wrong and now you will be getting better. ((((((((BIG HUG)))))))))) to you!

Issie

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That sounds like a horrific experience!! I'm so glad that is behind you! Thank goodness you had your awesome mom advocating for you.

Regarding the porcelain filling, this is weird timing. I was thinking over the last few days about why the body goes into autoimmune "attack" mode and was thinking of my teeth. I had probably 10-12 mercury fillings for my whole life and at 40 decided to have them removed and have porcelain ones put in. I also have noticed they are not quite "comfortable" to eat with. I have one that I cannot use, at it is really sensitive. Hmmmm. Does make you wonder.

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Thank you, both of you :) It was quiet the experience. While i was taking that prednisone weeks back... i had 2 good weeks that i had never had before. My mind and body was quiet for almost 2 weeks. I can't explain that exactly, but seriously, my mind quietened and my body completely calmed down to a quiet state. I was then able to finally accomplish meditation, deep breathing, getting control of anxiety, focusing on positive energy, etc...... I really had gotten somewhere in the mind body connection. (although im no where near mastering it) but by being able to accomplish that for a good week or so, i think it helped me through all of this. For some reason i didn't totally flip out or fall apart. Not sure why.... but it was a very weird experience and of course it was very traumatic. Even my doctor agreed it was quiet traumatic (we converse and keep up through facebook).

The dilaudid was a live saver, they of course, would give it through the iv.... and it was great for the pain and never knocked me out or made me dizzy or loopy or anything.... just took the pain away for a while.

And yea, mom is like me, we demand answers and we demand not to be swept under the rug and sent home just because they dont know what to do. I honestly believe if they sent me home, I would not be alive.... i feel with all my hear the infection would have spread really quickly and sepsis would have taken over, as one doc said that is what it was doing. So, im so glad my mom fought for me the entire time..... i seriously just had no fight, no anything... i was that plum wore out and that much in pain.... wow, i was just delirious.

The nurses where amazing though. I can't be thankful enough for them.

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Tenille,

Good gosh!!! I have a dentist phobia and your story made me have adrenaline surges! You poor thing...this past week must have been horrible. BUT, it sounds like better days are ahead (plus you got some happy gas!) I was wondering if you were ok cause I hadn't seen you post for a little while. There must have been some sort of nasty bug that got in there during your filling change...it could have been from a tiny little prick of your gum from an instrument...who knows? Plus, weren't you on a round of prednisone just before your pain got bad? Maybe there was an underlying problem and the prednisone suppressed your immune system enough to let it go into a full blown infection?

Continue to get well. I'll be thinking of you.

Katie

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Tenille,

Good gosh!!! I have a dentist phobia and your story made me have adrenaline surges! You poor thing...this past week must have been horrible. BUT, it sounds like better days are ahead (plus you got some happy gas!) I was wondering if you were ok cause I hadn't seen you post for a little while. There must have been some sort of nasty bug that got in there during your filling change...it could have been from a tiny little prick of your gum from an instrument...who knows? Plus, weren't you on a round of prednisone just before your pain got bad? Maybe there was an underlying problem and the prednisone suppressed your immune system enough to let it go into a full blown infection?

Continue to get well. I'll be thinking of you.

Katie

Katie

Thank you so much for thinking of me :) Yea, i was pondering the same thing, like maybe something fell into the tooth when they replaced the filling. Keep in mind, the dentist who done that redo on the filling was a..... well, like a resident dentist, wet behind the ears. I had not dental insurance, so we have a local organization that provides quality health and dental to those who work but don't have insurance. Honestly, every tooth he filled, all never have felt right. But that one specifically, i knew that same day he done it, that something about it wasn't right. Maybe they didn't clean it out good enough and left some 'bad stuff' in there and then he packed in the porcelain filling??

But yea, i took a 2 week round of prednisone, which quietened everything about me down. The jaw didn't hurt, the tooth didn't hurt, my overall symptoms were suppressed, i felt pretty good for those 2 weeks.... then afterwards, after i stopped them.... BAM.... all this happened. Im thinking the same.... maybe it suppressed everything, then after i got off the prednisone it all came back like tenfold and then this happened as a result??? But im also thinking, perhaps this infection has bee accumulating the whole time since the replaced filling and after the prednisone, it was able to really show itself and just, like, multiply?

I have deep feeling within me, it was meant to happen this way. No telling what the future could have been if the infection lingered in there on and on..... i do feel better in many ways right now, than i have in quiet a few years. But Im not sure if that's because the infection is healing, or if it's the opiate (percocet)... which i have only taken 2 today. I know percocets can make me feel better........ but, i guess, in the long run.... by the end of next week, surely i'll know somehow if im feeling better that perhaps the infection has worsened my symptoms these past 9 months?? I actually feel normal, for some reason... .i don't know why. I mean, i feel tired, wore out.... but i dont feel all my symptoms that i always deal with on a daily basis..... and i can't figure that one out right now. Hmmmm..... theories, theories....

thanks so much again for thinking of me :) and yes, im so glad im feeling better and feeling like im on the mend :)

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One of my uncles died from an abscessed tooth. The infection went to his brain. So, I'd say you're very fortunate to have gotten help and the infection is clearing up. Hope you continue to feel better each day.

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Hilbiligrl,

I have a good guess of what happened to you because something similar happened to me. My story spans 6 months, and I don't feel like typing it all out.

In all likelihood, when your tooth was refilled, the pressure of pushing the filler in made a hairline crack in your tooth. It only takes this hairline crack (which often cannot be seen in x-rays), to allow bacteria to enter into the pulp of your tooth. Voila....infection, and nowhere for the pressure of it to come out. Sometimes a pustule will be showing on the gum

I'm glad you're trauma is over. I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

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issie ~ oh how i do feel so very fortunate. Im so sorry about your uncle. :( Im serious, i totally do feel very lucky. Even if I had to go through all that. It's just something inside me tells me it just was meant to happen this way, in order for the infection to be known and treated and the tooth to be pulled. It was clearly already causing sepsis and oh my, at such a quick rate, and yes you are so correct, and i know, it would have been deadly and very quickly at that. And I know, im not over-reacting, it's just something i know deep down. But boy did we have to fight to get something done!!!!

futurehope~ that is an excellent explanation!!!! I never would have thought that in a million years!!! But it makes perfect sense. And im so sorry you have had to endure the same thing too. Thank you for sharing that, because i've been scratching my head and all puzzled for days. :)

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Thank you so very much Bren :) Im sooooo glad it is over and crossing my fingers that like it doesnt come back or anything like that. Shew.....

Oh and since all this happened, my bottom lip, from the lip to the chin, lets say from the middle of it to the end of my smile and few inches past, plus all the way to the bottom of my chin, and my teeth in that same area and the gums in the same area...... all of it has been numb as if a dentist numbed it with a needle/novicane or something. It's been numb for a good week and still is.... of course i still have some swelling left in the jaw line. But it's so numb that when i eat, food comes out and i have no idea of it cuz i can't feel a thing!!!! It's as if nothing is there, no teeth, no lip, no chin..... its so weird. :/

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Oh Tennille, what an ordeal! I'm sorry you had to go through that. I hope that you recover soon.

I have had the same experience as you and Sue with the white resin fillings. They aren't very comfortable. My dentist told me that some people have more trouble with tooth sensitivity and the resin fillings. A few years ago I had a resin filling replaced with a silver filling because the resin one was too uncomfortable.

I just had several fillings done last week, and I opted for the resin fillings this time since they are supposed to be better. It hurts to chew now, though, and my teeth are much more sensitive to cold and hot foods now. I'm hoping that in time it will go away. My dentist said it can take 6 months or more.

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Tenille, my heart breaks for you and what you went through! I also had crazy tooth infections (actually a few months before my POTS started - or maybe that was the beginning.) I ended up with three teeth pulled that had already been root canaled and had been fine. I also heard the theories about cracks in the root, etc. All I know is that when they pulled, the pus came pouring out. I have never been in pain like that, and I have had lots of babies - some without epidurals. The pain was so bad, my husband said he never saw anything like it.

Just reading your story made me teary, and I feel that you are one lucky woman that you got started on those heavy antibiotics when you did. Someone was looking out for you. You should feel blessed. I hope you (and everyone else) never has to go through anything like that ever again.

On another note, one of my kids once had a strep throat so bad that she couldn't open her mouth or swallow anything. She was taking oral antibiotics and just getting worse. She got totally dehydrated and the pediatrician sent us to the hospital to get IV antibiotics and some fluids in her. The doctors and nurses were like "Why doesn't she just get over it and swallow the pill, we've also had strep throat - it hurts but you get over it". I was so angry. Here is a 14 yr old kid who had had strep so many times life and always manages just fine. Her veins were collapsing from dehydration and you say get over it? Doesn't it occur to them that she is in more pain than they have ever felt? That they can't relate? What kind of ridiculous thing is it to try to give her another pill? (On an empty stomach - really nice, let's give her diarrhea too....) Unfortunately, for some docs, it seems like if this isn't what it says in the books, just keep showing the patient the book....

I am glad you are out of the woods, I hope you get better and better each day.

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