This is a follow-on from my previous article, where I detailed spending too much time in ED with rather nasty PsA flares. As detailed, the consensus in the end was I had an infected tooth and that was driving my flares.
The offending tooth has now been removed! The improvement in my overall health is nothing short of remarkable.
I have had NO major PsA flares since the tooth was extracted. I have not needed Panadol Osteo or Tramadol and have tapered off the Prednisolone. Yay!
I haven’t had a painful wrist, painful or swollen fingers, painful toes or ankles since the extraction. When I say painful in this context, I do not mean excruciating, I just mean sore, irritating or annoying. These are distinct from from full on flares, such as when I couldn’t cut the cheese as the wrist was too painful. I had been experiencing these niggles off and on since starting my new PsA medication, but had actually put it down to the new medication not being as efficacious as the previous medication. I am revisiting that assumption!
The tooth was extracted on November 21. I have delayed writing this update as I wanted conclusive proof of a couple of seemingly related improvements, however I think it may take a month or more for that, so we’ll see what happens.
In a nutshell, it seems I may have had an infected tooth for most of this year, without realising. One aspect of this saga I didn’t mention in my previous article is I have some (not all) broken or wonky pain sensors. This was initially suggested by the Barbara Walker Pain Management Centre when I did a pain management program there. There are situations where it seems every other patient known experiences pain, but I did not. I’ll cite one example here to illustrate. I have had my gall bladder removed, yet during the whole process of trying to find out what the problem was, I had NO pain. Just dizziness and nausea and felt unwell. Finally scans were done and bingo, there was a porcelain gallbladder. The surgeon’s words, on reviewing the imagining, were “That needs to come out. Now”.
We’ve decided anything muscle or joint related, I feel pain. Things like gallbladders, teeth etc – not until the very last minute, if at all.
It seems it went like this. Some time before April, the tooth became a minor problem and steadily got worse until by May/June I had developed the ongoing fever. The tooth I had issues with in June may have only had issues because the infection from this tooth had spread, upsetting a nerve. The June tooth seems fine now! Antibiotics at the time settled things down for a while, but it resurfaced. As I mentioned in the last article, this tooth is one that my partial plate clicks onto. There were times the tooth felt uncomfortable this year, but it was off and on and I wouldn’t call it pain as such, just uncomfortable. I thought it was probably just the load of the plate putting stress on the tooth, I never considered infection. Not until the very last days before I ended up in ED. By then I did actually have a toothache! Even so, it wasn’t an excruciating toothache.
Now, during this year I also lost high frequency hearing (yes, confirmed by the audiologist), lost my sense of smell and my nose was swelling internally every night, waking me up as my breathing was disrupted.
For two days after the tooth was extracted, my sinuses continuously drained down the back of my throat. Two days after having my tooth out, I walked outside after it had been raining. I could smell wet earth! Hmmmm, I thought to myself, if my sense of smell will recover, what about my hearing? After all, I had experienced a VERY mild earache during the worst of what I now refer to as “the ED weekend”. The best home test of that is taking my temperature as the high frequency alert beeps are in the frequency I can’t hear. I have been able to hear them a few times since the tooth extraction, but not every time. While I could smell the wet earth, sticking my nose in a rose is no different than it was before – yet anyway. If I walk past certain plants on my walks, I can smell a scent in the air though. I can smell cinnamon again. So while there are changes, I don’t yet have conclusive proof either my hearing or my sense of smell will return to normal. The changes to date (less that two weeks) are interesting though.
The nose swelling is still an issue, but improving. My gut is also settling, although attributing that to the tooth is complicated by the fact we also increased my Thyroxine dose at about the same time as having the tooth extracted.
Upsettingly, due to my drop in activity over this time, Garmin has kindly reassessed my Fitness Age – and not in a positive direction! I am not above admitting that at my age and with my medical conditions, I was quite proud of the fact my Fitness Age was younger than my chronological age. My objective now is to pace back up to where I was!
The bottom line here is teeth are SUCH a vital component of our health. Yes, those of us with chronic conditions are likely more susceptible to complications due to our underlying conditions and/or our medications. Even so, healthy people are also at risk. My personal situation is complicated by the pain sensor thing: clearly if I’d had a toothache earlier and reported that, I might have avoided much of what ensued!
It has certainly been an interesting experience!