THE WHOLE TOOTH  how my health went to hell

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The Whole Tooth: Summary

The Whole Truth chronicles the prolonged medical treatment (over 30 months, 20 doctors and still counting) the author received as a result of one dentist's misjudgment. The story is completely true.

On May 30, 1997, the situation began with pain in the upper left-hand jaw which was diagnosed as a deep cavity in tooth #26 (a molar on the upper left-hand jaw). The dentist opened up the tooth and removed the nerve. Two days later, he attempted a root canal surgery, during which a searing flash of pain ran through my jaw -- pain which, to this day, has yet to stop.

The dentist attempted to solve the situation by removing the tooth, without any success. With the pain continuing unabated, I began a trip through miscellaneous doctors' waiting rooms: A computer x-ray revealed a cyst in my left maxillary sinus, but this was not deemed a possible cause for my pain.

A neurologist diagnosed an "atypical facial neuralgia" and made me swallow Carbamazepin tablets for six weeks. After developing shingles on a much-needed vacation, I had to stop taking the medication. A consultation with a jaw specialist got me nowhere.

In April 1998, I changed jobs and moved to another town, where I dropped by the local dental clinic -- maybe they could help? They sent me to another neurologist who diagnosed a trigeminus neuralgia without even examining me and suggested that they might try to cut off a nerve to rid me of the pain. Panicked, I stayed away from the hospital until a new surge in pain forced me back in late October.

On November 2, I got an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan which revealed that the cyst was gone and no source for my continuing troubles. I was sent to a neurosurgeon for a second opinion.

On November 5, the neurosurgeon suggested another MRI scan with more detail, a computer x-ray and Valium. He also looked at the supposed cyst image and determined that it was neither a cyst nor could it be the cause for the pain. At this point, he says that it's too early to tell what effectively causes the pain.

The next day, I went to see the dentists and they opened up two more teeth to see whether there were any hidden cavities in there. Surprise -- there were. This was like a shell game where every shell had a marble under them.

Finally, I had my second set of MRI and CAT scans. The neurosurgeon gave me a diagnosis on Monday, November 30, 1998, by phone. No tumor could be found. The pain was considered to be a "learned pain" now, to be treated with medication, electrical shocks and, perhaps acupuncture. I finally received a written diagnosis in late December, with no mention of acupuncture anywhere.

In February 1999, I finally dared to go back to the dental clinic, after being hit by a car. The dentist in charge wants to try out pain killers before opening yet another filling. The pain killers don't quite work, but the pain lessens somewhat.

When the pain got worse in late February, they tried stronger pain killers and finally opened up another tooth. This time there wasn't any caries. The general doctor put me back on carbamazepin, the dentists came up with a new (and plausible) theory to explain my pain: Perhaps it was caused by strong tensions in my jaw, not by the teeth themselves?

This turned out to be correct. My teeth weren't to blame after all -- the pain came from the left jaw muscle. After almost two years, a pain specialist was able to soothe my pain by injecting an anesthetic into my jaw muscle. The relief lasted two hours...

The pain decreased until on July 20, 1999, I went to see another dentist who examined the upper right-hand molar, found a huge cavity and filled it. When the anesthetic wore off, I felt an oddly familiar pain -- only this time it was on the other side of the jaw.

At the dental clinic, the doctors determined that the dentist had touched the nerve of the tooth. They tried to save it -- and for six months, it almost looked as if they might succeed. Then, things took a turn for the worse and finally, a new dentist had to remove the roots of the tooth. For a short while, it looked as if this might happen without a problem.

The same doctor eventually proceeded to close the gap left by the violent exit of tooth #26 with a bridge, causing some more pain. Eventually, it became less of a problem and I learned to deal with it.

Doctors involved so far:

All because of one snafu.

The full story begins here: Ground Zero: May 30, 1997

The latest developments can be read here: Current Status.

Latest five entries:

(Should you find a broken link, please let me know.)


Next: The First Doctor: "A root canal? I went into serious shock." >

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"The Continuing Health Crisis" is an 100% true account of MOATMAI's health problems. It is intended to keep all friends and enemies informed about his current status. The Whole FAQ.

First Visit? You might want to check out the summary before continuing.

Current Status: The root canal, it is done. The tooth is dead. And the pain? Well...

The whole mess began in June, 1997. The Whole Tooth starts here.


Content & Form © 2002 by MOATMAI at HELLONEARTH dot COM
This Section Last Updated: 2002/01/02

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