How My Teeth Saved My Life!
The year 2022 was a year that gave me the most hope and reminded me the value of my own life. It, like others, gave me high highs and some scary low lows. One of my highs was that I was able to spend the time and money to begin my journey to fixing my teeth again. I found the perfect dentist and I spent majority of the year with her working on perfecting my smile. It was painful at times and even more so draining. However, my confidence and self esteem sored through the entire universe. Another high is how my teeth journey saved my life!
I received a root canal on the tooth behind my K-9 tooth on the bottom right side. This was a Wednesday and I was sent home with antibiotics and Motrin 800. By Friday I was back in the office with slight swelling and lots of pain. My dentist gave me Tylenol 3, prescription strength Tylenol that had Oxycodone mixed with it, and was told if the pain persists or swelling worsens to go to the hospital. Saturday, I was still in bed with the pain and my husband begged me to go in to the Emergency room. I hate hospitals! After hours of procrastination, I settled for the urgent care.
I have been to the urgent care once before for sever tooth pain and they were able to give me a shot of Tylenol that take effect immediately. But even more so, I knew I needed a stronger antibiotic because there was no way this wasn’t a sever infection with the amount of pain I was in and the meds I was already on. When I was explaining to the urgent care doctor what had happened throughout the week he looked at me and said, “I do not give narcotics for tooth aches.” To which I responded, “I do not need narcotics, nor do I want them. I have Tylenol 3 that isn’t working. I need a stronger antibiotic.” I also asked to have my ear looked at due to it being in pain. He prescribed me a much stronger antibiotic, gave me the shot. Then sat with me to gave me an exact schedule on how to take my meds to keep the pain at bay. I had full relief for a few hours and then over the course of the day the pain came back.
Sunday rolled around and now I am not just in pain but I’m also sleep deprived because the pain didn’t allow me to rest. When I looked in the mirror I saw the swelling was no longer in the isolated space on my jawline, where the root canal took place. There was literally no definition between my jaw and neck with the swelling. After seeing this, I asked my husband to drive me to the hospital. I explained to the doctor everything that had transpired from the root canal to the urgent care to this day. Again I was met with “We don’t treat dental work. All I can do is give you a CT and some Motrin.”
At this point I now have pain in my right cheek bone, right nostril, my neck, my jaw, my right ear. I also was experiencing extreme pressure behind my right eye, a migraine that covered the entire right side of my head, and the swelling was so bad that I could not turn my head. While my nurse was doing his intake on me, the imaging technician came to do my CT. While waiting for my nurse to finish up I could see him looking at me and at his paperwork in his hand, slightly confused. Just then he interrupts to ask “Are you having pain in your neck as well?” I responded to him “Yes. I’m having pain all through here,” and I used my hand to show him my entire right side of my head, face and neck. He then walked away in the direction of my doctor.
When he came back the nurse was done and he took me to get my CT. While on our way I learned despite my complaints and visible swelling the doctor requested a CT of ONLY my jawline. The imaging tech asked the doctor to change it to my entire head and neck as well. My husband and I waited patiently for the results, hoping I would leave with some sort of relief. The doctor came back and explained to me that the CT showed I had Sphenoid Sinusitis and I would need to follow up with an ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat Specialist). She explained the migraines are the toughest there are because its from the sinus. She said the good thing is there was no abscesses, which I knew because I’ve had abscesses in my mouth before when I was a child, and that was my response when she said that. The doctor sent me on my way with the recommendation to see an ENT.
I want to make it clear, when we were given this information there was absolutely no sense of urgency from the doctor. While on our way home we looked up what this Sphenoid Sinusitis was and it scared me a bit. Then I remember I jump to worst case scenario in these situations and I didn’t want to go through that. I called my mom the next day to tell her, she explained the ENT would put a camera in my nose and flush my sinuses through my nose and immediately I was like “NOPE!” Over the course of the next couple of weeks I avoided the topic and even attempting to find an ENT like the plague.
However, this was a huge mistake that I didn’t realize would literally effect my life terminally! Soon I was sick all the time with a head cold I just couldn’t shake. I had gotten to the point where I was just a vessel moving through my day to day life the best I could. It took every ounce of energy to get up and take the kids to school. For a month my routine became; get up, take the kids to school, come home and sleep, get up to pick the kids up from school (I slept in the car while waiting for them to get out) then go home and sleep. My family became progressively more concerned for me and honestly I did too. With the little bit of energy I had while laying in bed between naps, I began reading up more on Sphenoid Sinusitis and learned the following:
Sphenoid Sinusitis is a rare disease with potentially devastating complications such as cranial nerve involvement, brain abscess, and meningitis. It occurs at an incidence of about 2.7% of all sinus infections. Although headache is the most common presentation symptom, there is no typical headache pattern. Common symptoms of Sphenoid Sinusitis include but are not limited to; headaches, earaches, neck pain, pain behind the eyes and around the temples, post nasal drip, sinus congestion and sore throat. Sphenoid Sinusitis can cause severe complications that are potentially fatal and therefore must never be underestimated.
Then I found an article of the severity of this disease in its worst state and I realized I had all of these symptoms. The weakness, lack of energy, sleeping all the time, this was my body being over taken by the disease. I knew I needed help and I needed it immediately! When I found my ENT, due to the hospital I got my diagnoses from he wasn’t fully sure it was this so he ran lots of tests. One of which was a breathing test, I scored a 29, the lowest, normal rate should be 78. As soon as he saw this he gave me a breathing treatment in office. He sent me for a blood allergy test. I was put on an inhaler twice per day, an emergency inhaler, an allergy pill once a day, a nasal steroid, an oral steroid and an antibiotic and was instructed to come back in a month for a follow up and results review. When I went back a month later, I was sick again with the same symptoms minus the excessive sleeping. I did feel the best I had felt in months. I did another breathing test and a follow up CT. He found that my Sphenoid sinus cavity was still half full with infection. I got sent home with my second round of steroids, third round of antibiotics and another follow up for a month later.
A month later I walked into his office and I thought I was cured. I still got a cold again, at this rate I was getting it once a month but it wasn’t lasting as long. The follow up CT for this appointment showed that my Sphenoid sinus cavity was only 25% filled with infection and he wanted it gone. So, a third round of steroid and a fourth of antibiotics, but this time a different, stronger one and another follow up a month later.
One month later, no cold, full of life and no infection in my sphenoid sinus cavity gave me the almost all clear. Doc wanted to see how I did for a month without all the meds. I went a month only using my allergy pill. This follow up CT showed no infection! I was cured! But, I wasn’t. I never truly will be. I will live with this for life. Every time I get any type of cold I have to be put on steroid and antibiotics to ensure this never gets out of control and takes my life.
Last year, I felt my body giving up. I felt the life draining from me with every cold, every sniffle, every nap. I genuinely feared I wouldn’t wake up one day. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, an aunt and so much more. A lot of people will hurt and be lost if I had not been working on my teeth! My mother would have out lived her youngest child. My husband would have been a widower and would have had to raise our children without me! My children motherless! I’m incredibly grateful I began my journey to fix my teeth, for if I had not I may have not found this in a time where it was fixable.
My teeth literally saved my life!
*The Sphenoid Sinus Cavity is a sinus cavity that is within your brain. When it is completely full of infection this can causethe infection to overflow to your brain.
OMG!! I am so sorry you went through all of this. It sounds absolutely terrible but I am glad they were able to diagnose and treat you and your feeling better. <3 Lauren
You are so strong to think that a person can go through something like this and continues to stay in their right mind amazes me. I would wish to have as much strength as you had going through this process. Thank you for sharing your store to us mand teaching us about The Sphenoid Sinus Cavity.