Sunday, 28 December 2014

Sinus Toothache!

This is a break from my normal posts (if there is such a thing). I am posting this in case it is of help to someone out there if I share my experience.

Back in the summer, I started to notice a sharp, shooting pain in my teeth whenever I bent down to pick up the ball. Just that. Nothing else. Ah ha, those in the know will be saying, I know what that is.

Well, I didn’t. I put up with it and tried to ignore the thought that I had something very wrong with my teeth. I hoped it would get better. It didn’t. It got worse. Soon the toothache was constant and I was taking paracetamol every four hours. I had earache and jaw ache. The whole side of my face hurt and my teeth were super-sensitive.

So I did the sensible thing and made an appointment with my dentist. “Which tooth?” she asked. “I don’t know – all of them on that side at the top.” “Oh, so I have to guess do I?” she said and I felt like an idiot. I mean who doesn’t know which of their teeth hurts?

“It hurts most when I bend over forwards,” I said helpfully (it seemed relevant) and she looked exasperated as if that bit of information didn’t help at all.

She tapped all my teeth along the top on the left side. They all hurt. A lot. She did that thing where they spray something icy on your teeth. I nearly hit the roof. She took x rays. At last, I thought, she’ll find out what’s wrong.

“Hm, there’s nothing on your x rays.”

The nurse smiled kindly and said the problem is that the same nerve serves all the teeth so it can be difficult to find which one is causing the trouble.

To cut a long story short, she did a temporary filling in a small cavity she found and told me to come back in a fortnight. I wasn’t happy when I got home. I’d expected her to find something – anything – that was causing so much pain.

A few weeks later, after she’d replaced all my fillings on that upper side and put liners in to reduce sensitivity the pain settled – very slightly, so when I went back for my next appointment I was able to say, yes, I feel much better. I didn’t tell her I was still taking painkillers. I wasn’t taking so many, so assumed the teeth were settling down. “Good,” she said. “My next step was going to be root canal treatment.” Yikes!

Then it got bad again. I was in despair. I tried to wobble my teeth to relieve the pressure and considered raiding the toolbox for some pliers. I tried hot and cold compresses on my face, bags of ice, herbal remedies, clove oil, the TENS machine – I even tried ibuprofen although they give me indigestion (they didn’t help at all). The paracetamol took the edge off, but after about three hours I’d be watching the hands of the clock, desperately waiting for the time to be up so I could take more.

I woke four hours after going to bed and had to take more pills. I felt like banging my head against the wall.

I was grinding my teeth and waking myself up, causing more pain. The inside of my cheek ached. Some nights I'd be up at 3am, my night's sleep over.

Then at the beginning of December, I made a decision. I’d make an appointment and just tell her to pull the teeth out. That was my plan. I hit my teeth with a spoon trying to pinpoint the most painful one, but by then the bottom teeth were hurting too and I had pain all down my neck. The ringing in my ear that I’ve got used to over the years became loud and constant.

The hypochondriac in me was working overtime. If I wasn’t tossing and turning because of the pain, it was all the ridiculous thoughts whirling round in my head. I’ve had trouble on that side of my face before – when I was in my twenties – and I began to think it was something to do with the radiation treatment I had. Or maybe it was arthritis in my jaw. Once I started looking things up on the internet, I scared myself.

I couldn’t get in with my dentist and had to see one of the others. I sat in his chair and said, “It started off hurting in my tooth when I bent forwards. Now my whole face hurts – all the time.

“That’s not toothache,” he said. “That is sinus pain. I’ll do an x ray to be sure.”

He did an x ray and showed it to me on his computer. All fine. Sinus, I thought, you mean I don’t need to have all my teeth pulled out to stop it? Really?

“You need antibiotics. I can prescribe them, but you should see your doctor as he’ll know the best one to prescribe.”

When I went to settle up, the receptionist said there was nothing to pay and asked if I had to make another appointment. I told her what he’d said. “Yes,” she said. “That’s very common.” I said I felt a fool for not going to the doctor first and she said, “Well you have to start with one or the other.”

So the next day I went to see my doctor. I told him the dentist had sent me! “I’ve got toothache,” I said. “It hurts a lot when I bend forward.”

“That’s not toothache,” he said. “That’s a sinus infection. How long have you had it?”

At least three months.

I picked my prescription up and went home in tears. The end was in sight.

Except the antibiotics didn’t work – not helped by the norovirus I got in the middle of the course. I couldn’t get in with my doctor and had to see a different one. I was beginning to think it wasn’t an infection at all and my inner hypochondriac reared her ugly head again.

The doctor took my temperature. “Over 100,” he said which was a surprise. He prescribed a different antibiotic and gave me a steroid nasal spray to use.

I’ve had sinus pain before, but it’s always been in my cheekbones and always after a cold. Never like this!

About three days into the antibiotics, I was down to four painkillers all day. By Christmas Eve which was the last day of them, I didn’t need any. It was bliss to sleep through the night.

Christmas day evening my face began to hurt - but not bad enough for painkillers. But I’ve caught a cold. I’m snuffly and stuffed up so it’s going to hurt isn’t it? If it gets worse, I'll be back to the doctor like a shot!

The reason I am writing this post is because there may be someone else out there with an unexplained toothache that cannot be pinpointed and pain when they lean forwards. Go and see your doctor!

I cannot believe how debilitating this sinus infection has been. Apart from the pain, my only symptom was intense fatigue – and weight loss (every cloud and all that). I even had to soak my cornflakes in soya milk until they were soft because eating anything remotely crunchy was so painful.

My husband, bless him, did all the Christmas food shopping (including buying stacks of paracetamol) because I have been in Completely Useless Mode for weeks. I’ve done very little writing apart from my blog posts; in fact this is probably the most I’ve written for ages.

So for anyone reading this that doubts that a sinus infection can cause toothache, earache, headache, face ache, jaw pain, neck ache and fatigue without any nasal symptoms – yes it can!

And just as an odd little aside, the second lot of antibiotics I was prescribed were the same as those Dusty is taking for the next month, Co-amoxiclav (Augmentin).


I really hope that this post will help someone!


31 comments:

  1. Oh, Teresa, what a nightmare! I am glad they found the cause before you had all your teeth out, but how awful it took so long. I do hope the antibiotics sort it out properly soon.
    And I'm sure it will help other people. I quite often have toothache that goes along with a headache, though nothing as bad as you describe, and have thought it to be a type of neuralgia - now I wonder! It usually passes in a day or two so I have never explored it further, but I will certainly bear your experiences in mind for future reference.

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  2. Thank you, Bernadette.
    I had no idea sinuses could cause so much trouble. They say it usually starts out as a viral infection which gets better on its own and can sometimes turn to a bacterial infection which is when you need antibiotics. They said the key was the fact that it hurt when I bent forward and that I couldn't pinpoint which tooth was painful.
    I'd certainly consider seeing the doctor if yours persists longer than a few days xx

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  3. What a dreadful experience, Teresa. I have arthritis in my neck following a whiplash and when I lie on my back in bed, I get awful shooting pains in my teeth, so I really do sympathise! I hope you'll be better soon.

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    1. Sounds horrible! It must wake you up if you turn onto your back when you're asleep. As if teeth aren't enough of a problem on their own without being affected by others things. Sigh xx

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  4. So glad you have found the source. I nearly had some teeth out last year only to find out that it was a medical problem which returns from time to time but not as intensely as yours. Years ago, dentists would have just removed teeth without a second thought.
    Have a happy and healthy new year.

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    1. Thank you, Linda. I'm so glad you found your problem before you had your teeth out.
      Happy new year xx

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  5. How absolutely awful for you Teresa. Toothache is bad enough, but not being able to find the cause must have been so worrying. Let's hope that your doctor has now solved the problem. After a fall in May and subsequent Dexa scan I have found that I have severe osteoporosis. You could have hit me down with a feather as I am usually so fit. I am now trying to find the medication to suit me. I would rather not take anything, but know that I must. At least I am not having the unbearable pain that you experienced. Let's hope 2015 brings better health.

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    1. What a shock, Maggie. It's good they've found out so they can start medication. I hope 2015 is good to you xx

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  6. Sympathies, Teresa. I've had sinus trouble (fortunately quickly diagnosed and treated) It's really painful, even when dealt with early. Long term must be agony. Hope this is the end of it now.

    Best wishes for 2015

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    1. Thank you, Patsy - wishing you a happy 2015 xx

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  7. Oh how horrible, Teresa! Pain in or around the face is just awful. I think that next time, you should go to the vet. He'll know what to do.

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    1. I don't know that he would, Frances. We're back to the vet with Dusty tomorrow for his post op follow up - and he has a swollen face again, despite still being on antibiotics. It seems never ending for the poor little dog xx

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  8. Poor you. I hope all the germs go soon, along with the sinus problem. We always keep Nurofen decongestant in the house and at the first sign of sinus pain, take that. Wishing you a healthy new year.

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    1. Thanks, Lynne. I've been doing steam inhalers with tea tree oil and Vicks xx

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  9. Hi Teresa, glad you've found out what it was. I'm off to the doctor tomorrow for a persistent cough. It's lasted about 6 weeks now. Happy new year and thanks for all your support with my writing. Xx

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    1. Good luck, Susan - I hope the doctor will give you something to help. Six weeks is a long time to be coughing. Hope you have a Happy New Year xx

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  10. Teresa - hope you're feeling a lot better now. All the best for 2015.

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    1. Thank you, Kate. I am feeling much better - just need to get poor Dusty sorted out now. Happy 2015 xx

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  11. Thank goodness fate intervened and you saw a different dentist and he pinpointed the problem. Wishing you a very healthy and happy 2015.xx

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    1. Thank you, Deb - and a very healthy and happy new year to you xx

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  12. That sounds dreadful, Teresa. I've had a neuralgia-type pain don the side of my face and jaw at times but it usually passes. I'm surprised (and annoyed for you) that the first visit to the dentist didn't identify the problem, especially after an x-ray! Glad you're getting better. I used to have terrible nasal sinus and it's been under control for a few years now as I begin each morning with a glass of warm water with fresh lemon juice, a small piece of fresh ginger and a very small edge-of-teaspoonful of Manuka honey. All good to keep infections at bay! Hope you manage to enjoy New Year.

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    1. That's a great way to start the day, Rosemary. I am a great believer in the healing power of Manuka honey and it tastes like honey used to taste when I was a child (I don't know if that's my imagination). I am taking garlic at the moment - can't understand why everyone is keeping their distance :-)

      I am much better, thank you - Happy New Year xx

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  13. Teresa, I'm so pleased that you finally got an answer, and are on the road to recovery.

    Extended use of painkillers just interferes with thinking-as I found out with my tooth problem recently- so glad you've been able to cut them down.

    Fingers crossed for a trouble-free 2015 for you and Dusty.

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    1. Thank you, Carol.
      I hope you have a very happy 2015 xx

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  14. Sinus is the worst thing to deal with, first thing that pains me is the jaw area and it kills!! but good thing tht you went to the dentist as soon as you thought something was wrong!!

    regards,
    Dentist Mumbai

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    1. Well as the receptionist said you have to start somewhere, either with a doctor or a dentist xx

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  15. Glad you got the right medication in the end Teresa, it all sounds horrendous. Being only too familiar with sinus problems I was sure I had a sinus infection before Christmas and went through all the usual self medication techniques learnt over the years (steam inhalation, Sudafed, avoid dairy products and take a migraine tablet when it turns to sinus migraine). I finally went to the doctor when I found a small rash on my forehead. "I have sinus pain - and this..." I said, lifting my fringe.
    "Shingles" he said. So that told me LOL! The pains in my head - the tender scalp - Shingles. X

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    1. Shingles! You poor thing - hope you are feeling much better now xx

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  16. Yikes! The whole experience must’ve been quite horrible! I can only imagine how much pain and frustration you felt during that time! It's good that they eventually figured out what it was, though they could've definitely done it sooner. At the very least, you were saved from taking an inappropriate solution for your problem. I can't imagine how painful it would've been if you had to deal with a root canal and the sinus toothache at the same time! Anyway, thanks for sharing!

    Milton Wilson @ A+ Family Dentistry

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    1. Thank you. I'm just glad they got to the bottom of it eventually xx

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  17. provided blog are nice which is most useful to getting relief from an sinus toothache.
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