Osteomyelitis is Maxillary area

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Hello. I was just diagnosed with Osteomyelitis of the upper left maxillary area after suffering for the last few years with facial swelling, intense dizziness, & stabbing pains spreading from my ear to jaw. Needless to say this has been an absolute nightmare & I figured I would share my experience in the hopes that someone can relate & possibly offer their own experiences & advice. 

So for years I started suffering from chronic sinus infections & dizziness always on the left side of my head. I learned to live with it for the most part until around a year ago  when it became debilitating. I went to every doctor imaginable thinking it was my thyroid or something. Every blood test came back normal. One morning I woke up & noticed my upper left jaw was throbbing & I started wondering if I had a tooth infection. I remembered that I had a root canal done about 5 years ago on that side & the gum had gotten infected 3 x after it was done. I was always given antibiotics & the gum infection would go away.

I went to the dentist & he didn’t see any infection or anything wrong with the tooth. The throbbing & pain continued to intensify & I went to an oral surgeon who also said the tooth looked fine & that he believed I had a sinus infection & referred me to an ENT. The ENT couldn’t see anything wrong with my sinuses.  I finally decided to have the tooth extracted because even though they said it wasn’t infected by that point I was convinced it was as the pain continued to intensify & it was absolutely coming from right above that tooth. 

The dentist who performed the extraction said that a canal was missed & there was significant bone loss around the tooth. She believed that this was the cause of all the pain & dizziness. I was prescribed Clindamycin & went home feeling happy thinking I was finally going to start feeling better....How wrong I was!!

That’s when the real problems started. The day after the extraction I felt like I was dying. My face & ear felt like it was going to explode, my heart was pounding over 110 bpm & it felt like someone was stabbing the top of my head with 10 knives & was set on fire. 

I went to the ER but because I didn’t have a fever & my gums looked like they were healing they refused to do a CT scan or give me additional antibiotics. They told me I had anxiety. 

Over the next few days the pain continued to increase & I went to a local walk-in clinic & begged them for additional antibiotics. They took pity on me & gave me Bactrim & along with the Clindamycin the pain started to subside & I was able to go back to work even though I continued to feel achy & dizzy. 

Long story short I had been seen by 3 oral surgeons, 2 ENTs, a neurologist, and every other type of doctor under the sun. None of them wanted to do a CT scan or MRI because they said that it couldn’t be an infection because my gums were healing, my face didn’t have really overt swelling & I was running a high temperature. I spent many many nights crying-half because of the pain & half because of frustration of not being listened to or taken seriously. 

I finally went to an infectious disease doctor who immediately ordered an MRI of the area & put me back on antibiotics. Im still waiting for the mri report but I brought her the CD & she said I have a deep spatial face infection & that she’s 99% sure that it spread into the bone based on the appearance of the pics. 

I’m supposed to have surgery to drain the abscess & scrape away pieces of the infected bone. She told me I will most likely be on long term antibiotics after. 

My question is has anyone else been through this? How bad was the surgery & recovery? Did you feel better after? Was your infection ever cured or does it never really go away? I know that this is really rare & both difficult to diagnose & treat. 

*Also side note...I’ve been reading about the dangers of root canals & how it is impossible to get all of the bacteria out of an infected tooth. On top of that once the procedure is done the tooth has no way to receive blood, oxygen, etc. as it has no root & it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria & toxins that your immune system & antibiotics can’t reach. Have any of you had a root canal & did you find that your problems started or worsened in that area of your jaw even years after? I feel like this is the case with me...The crazy thing is the tooth never ever looked infected on an X-ray. I decided to extract it only because I had a gut feeling something was wrong with it because the gum above it got infected a few times since having it done.  I was curious if anyone ever considered a normal seemingly uninfected root canal tooth as a possible “silent” cause? & that while it’s still in the mouth no matter how many surgeries or rounds of antibiotics the infection will always come back since the root canaled tooth is causing it?  That may explain why this condition is so hard to treat. Did anyone have a root canaled tooth extracted & did your condition improve? 

Thanks for reading smile 

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  • Posted

    Hello Sabrina. Wow you really have been through it. I have cervical osteomyelitis (in the bones of my neck,from staph aureus). It was easy to make my diagnosis as I contracted the infection in the operating room. Boy your story about root canal issues scares me as I need 4 more. I am on long term antibiotics, heart medicine,and pain medicine, I have chronic dry mouth from the meds, it is ruining my teeth. Long term antibiotics is normal for chronic osteomyelitis. I was 4x500 Keflex for some years now it is 2x500 Keflex. I have been so frustrated in my search to find someone else with cervical osteomyelitis, I am told that today it is very rare. OK, I need a bit of a break. I ask if anyone ever posts links to their debridement spot (the spot where I had all my infected body cut away). I can post some links to pics if we are allowed. Is it allowed?
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  • Posted

    Heart's out to you guys.. I have OM from an infected tooth, and like you (Sab) have had to push to get Doc's to take it seriously; it got infected in the summer, and than 5 mo's of Hyperbarics didn't heal it, though I didn't move forward with oral surgery in time, before it spread when I let my immunity down.

    One thing I've noticed for sure helps is an anti-biotic diet. Are you guys on the FB group for Osteomylitis? "Osteomyelitis & Joint Infection Community" there's a doc on there with some powerful natural antibiotics that have helped me a lot. I think because bacteria adjusts to what we throw at it, we need to be strategic in approaching & killing it off. We also have to be vigilant with diet/immunity. A lot can go back to inner (like our soul, ha ha) imbalance- I find for me anyways. it's a refining time.

    I'm about to go in to have my tooth extracted this week maybe- and I don't want it to get worse; so I intend to be vigilant to make sure no infection gets left behind.

    Daniel in particular, do you guys/have you had silver fillings at any point? I had 12 put in at once when I was young & fit, but... phhhwww they took me from athletic career to welfare, lol. By 'silver' you must mean "mercury".  Yeah, it can definitly compromise immunity, and is shown to induce anti-bioic resistence in bacteria. (All stuff I need to prep to share with the Oral Surgeon I will be seeing. Even the best Oral Surgeons don't know this stuff, so we have to be active to inform them). Anyways- check into that guys!!

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  • Posted

    Hi Sabrina,

    How are things currently? It sounds like we have very similar situations and I'm beyond frustrated and don't know where to begin to tackle this problem after seeing countless doctors. I just recently had 2 root canaled molars removed because I knew that's where the issue developed, even though nothing showed up on any scan. Not one. Things got better after each extraction but now a few weeks out I feel exactly the same as I did before they came out. Like the chronic infect ion just can't get out and it's growing in my jaw, neck, and lymph nodes now.

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  • Posted

    I have been back and forth from the ent and dentist and it’s no fun. No one knows what the cause of my pain is- I extracted 2 teeth this year and it did not solve my problem. After pulling my old root canaled tooth of 25 yrs old- I am still having throbbing pain above the extraction site. My sinus feels messed up and I only have a small amount of inflammation on the bottom and a possible cyst. So the ent said he could clear it out but doesn’t think it will solve my issue. I have 2 teeth left on the problem side and I don’t know what to do!!! I went to different types of dental specialists and they said the teeth look fine. So I am afraid that I have osteomyelitis of the upper jaw. How are you doing? Any updates you can give? 
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