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I am a 44 year old RN recovering from oral surgery related to complications from a shingles mouth infection. I had ulcers on my gums, fever, malaise and extreme pain. I could not see the ulcers as those were under bone tumors in my mouth. The ER misdiagnosed me with an abcessed tooth. I was in extreme pain, but only given antibiotics. I saw my dentist who did not see the shingles ulcers either, but did see exposed bone. He immediately sent me to an oral surgeon. The oral surgeon found the shingles with a mirror. I started antivirals (Valtrex), but it was too late to help. The pain in my mouth intensified over the next two weeks as the ulcers cleared up. My oral surgeon diagnosed me with a secondary bacterial bone infection in my jaw caused by the shingles. He prescribed antibiotics. A week later, my gum split wide open revealing an inch of exposed bone. I saw the surgeon who cut out the infected and rotten (necrotic or dead) bone tumors (tori). I had osteonecrosis - death of the jaw bone. This was also caused by the shingles infection.
The encephalitis stemmed from a shingles eye infection that I had two years prior. I have scarring on my cornea from the virus.
I take a maintenance dose of Valtrex daily to hopefully prevent the shingles. I also take gabapentin for post herpetic neuralgia.
Shingles is dangerous. With this latest mouth infection, I realized that one can die from the complications.
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