- CASE FILE
After a tooth extraction and implant I began experiencing a sensation in my mouth like I had scalded it on a hot drink. It didn’t go away!
ABOUT THIS CASE FILE
When the mouth burning began I thought it was associated with a tooth infection that lasted about 6 weeks and multiple visits to the dentist and doctor before a Periodontist discovered it. The infected tooth had been root canal treated some 15 years before and had been crowned. The infection was deep in the jaw by the root of the tooth. And was creating a lot of facial pressure and pain. The Periodontist took the crown off the tooth to see if he could save it but the tooth was badly decayed under the crown. He extracted the tooth, cleaned out the infection, inserted bone graft and an implant, sutured everything closed and gave me antibiotics for 10 days. The first day after finishing the antibiotics, I developed a tingling on the right side of my mouth including the tongue, gums and soft palate (same side as the implant) and a really nasty taste, much like the putrid pus taste I’d experienced with the infected tooth. I thought it might be oral thrush from the antibiotics, but I also had tooth pain in random teeth on the right side. The burning would cease at night and gradually return the next day to the point of significant discomfort by bedtime like my teeth were razor blades. It was difficult to talk and I was living on soups and soft food. I returned to the dentist multiple times believing there was still infection or perhaps the adjacent tooth was infected because of the toothache sensation. They took a pano X-ray and told me everything was fine. I was subsequently referred to an ENT who prescribed Gabapentin, an Endodontist who recommended Vitamin B12 and a sinus rinse, a Neurologist who did an MRI suspecting it might be trigeminal neuralgia or something sinister, a Psychotherapist who after 3 sessions told me my coping skills were outstanding, pain management who administered a steroid shot in my jaw, and finally my PCP ran some bloodwork which indicated I had an autoimmune disorder. I waited several months for a Rheumatology appointment and after two appointments, more bloodwork, a lip biopsy and almost 12 months since the initial tooth infection I was diagnosed with Sjögren’s Syndrome. I have all of the Sjögren’s symptoms and am managing them with multiple medications including Plaquenil, Pilocarpine, Low dose naltrexone, and recently started Lyrica. After a year of no relief from Gabapentin I weaned off it. Through all of this the burning mouth syndrome has not once gone away. It is only on the right side of my mouth and is now with me all day, every day, except when I’m asleep. I’ve also seen a naturopath, chiropractor, and acupuncturist. I’ve developed TMJ disorder and have been treated in physical therapy, including dry needling, ultrasound and given steroid patches for my facial pain. I get frequent massage and use heat packs on my face and jaw and lidocaine gel inside my mouth. I also receive lidocaine infusions every 2 weeks. I practice yoga 3 mornings a week before the burning is extreme. I work four days a week and arrive home in intense pain every evening from work. This didn’t come on gradually. One day I woke up with this monster and it hasn’t eased at all. I just want my life back.