Tomorrow I start my prescription #4 of antibiotics. Seems the tooth I thought was abscessed is not, but I have an infection in my gum. The infection started about two years ago when my then 80-year old dentist, whom I fired about 18 months ago, pulled a tooth that I later learned could have been saved by modern dentistry. At the time Dr Forrest pulled the tooth, I felt he was being excessive, but being female and of the generation that thinks men in white coats are disciples of God, I did not speak up.
After Dr Forrest pulled the tooth, which he did with bare hands and what felt like a hammer and chisel, I asked him if he was going to give me a prescription for an antibiotic. He said no, he did not think I needed it. I of course had the thought I did need it after his Medieval extraction, but said nothing. After all, my vet puts my dogs on antibiotics after they have a tooth extracted.
Within a week, I had an infection in my mouth, and I went to my general practitioner, who put me on ampicillin a mild antibiotic usually prescribed to children that has been around for ages. I also asked Dr Lessin for a referral for a new dentist, thinking it was time to give up Dr Forrest, the dentist David had before we married and whom I inherited.
The infection got better from antibiotic #1, but never completely cleared up apparently, hiding in my jaw bone. At my six-months exam, my new dentist, Dr Levin (who is probably in his 70s but has kept up with his discipline), found that I had an infected tooth, next to the site (or should I say gap) of the earlier tooth removal. Dr Levin sent me to an endodontist who performed a root canal and then restored the tooth without destroying the cap, a procedure which would have saved tooth #1.
I still had pain in my jaw after the endodontist did his magic, and I told Dr. Levin who then noticed a black spot on my jaw x-ray. Dr Levin then referred me to an oral surgeon, Dr Corcoran, who after taking x-rays in his office determined I needed to have a Cat scan (x-ray computed tomography). The Cat scan revealed a cyst in my jaw which he removed in May of this year, one and a half years after the botched tooth pulling. Following the surgery, I was placed on antibiotic #2
Last week, the area in my gum above the healed jaw (bone grew back, no cancer) became inflamed and my jaw and face swelled. I called the oral surgeon, who prescribed antibiotic #3.
The swelling reduced, I visited Dr Levin today, and he says I have an infection in my gum, but the tooth looks fine. He wrote prescription #4 for my infected gum and recommended that I see Dr Corcoran, the oral surgeon again.
Friday, I see Dr Corcoran after starting the new antibiotic tomorrow.
The moral of this story for me is this:
1. Dentistry and medicine have advanced so much you might want to ‘hire’ a newer dentist or doctor, or make sure in the case of your dentist or doctor he refers you to specialists.
2. If your dentist wants to pull a tooth, ask him why, and ask if there are alternative solutions.
3. If you have a tooth pulled, you probably need an antibiotic, especially if your dentist is elderly and does not like to wear gloves.
4. The abnormality in my white blood cells that has led me to see an oncologist for over one year may be owing to the infection in my jaw.
5. You really need to be your own doctor. We see so many specialists these days, the left hand does not always know what the right hand is doing. I have most of my doctor visits at one location, a hospital center in our county with many physicians in many different specialties. This medical facility is FINALLY in the process of organizing patient files on computers that communicate with each other. This facility is a state of the art entity in a large metropolitan area, goodness knows what goes on in less urban areas.
Medieval dentistry (from Wikipedia)