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6-month dental infection with constant fever - long, sorry

Previously a normal healthy person, 7 months ago I had "vital nerve exposure" during a routine filling and required my first root canal a few days later. The tooth remained sensitive/sore afterwards, especially to hot and cold. 3 months later, same tooth started hurting terribly, and felt 'hot.' Endodontist said it was infected. With the infection I also developed low fever and malaise. After amoxicillin and endo retreating tooth, it felt better and fever gone, but 2 days after ending antibiotics, infection returned with intensity, spread along jawline into nearby tooth, causing that tooth to then also need a root canal. I was put back on the same dose of amoxicillin, then tried clindamycin for a few days, but infection continued to spread - a large red hot lump (tablespoon sized) formed on my jawline, just under the 2 affected teeth. You could see it just by looking at my face.
A doctor examined me, noted severe infection/abscess, I had slightly elevated white blood cell count at this point, and she put me on cefdinir for 30 days. This helped diminish lump, but infection still spread, jaw became increasingly sore, and fever/malaise worsened into flu-like feeling but I had no respiratory symptoms.

A new endodontist retreated both root canals, put me on flagyl for 7 days, but symptoms still progressed and I wound up in ER, passing out, having mental confusion and extreme illness during a higher fever. CT scan of jaw showed residual swelling from abscess and shotty lymph nodes.

A doctor took me off all antibiotics (thinking that's what had made me so sick) but flu-feeling worsened and developed into what I can only describe as horrifying meningitis-like waves of illness for following 4-6 weeks as infection worsened into hot, fluid-filled feeling throughout jaw, down into neck lymph nodes. Fevers remained constant, I was bedridden for almost 2 months. The waves of illness would start with a rise in my fever, which was then followed by a hot achy feeling at the base of my head, which then slowly enveloped my whole body, causing the most horrible all-body internal ache, like the flu x 1000. It was totally debilitating, and I also had memory loss and confusion during these waves of sickness, which occurred at least 1x a day and lasted for anywhere from 3-10 hours. They'd typically be worse at night. During these 4-6 weeks I was on no antibiotics.

A panorex xray by oral surgeon showed no signs of osteomyelitis (infection was about 3+ months along now), and he said the teeth themselves looked fine. But a thermal imaging by oralfacial pain specialist showed greatly increased surface facial temps right where I felt the infectious fluid-filled feeling along my jaw. It was like a map, it was so accurate. It showed heat through jaw of affected area, down into jugular lymph nodes (which were also swollen). I was told these surface temps on my face and jawline were typically supposed to be 87 degrees Fahrenheit, but mine were just over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Oralfacial specialist determined I had a severe infection and I was started on 300mg/3x a day of clindamycin.

After 17 days on it, all symptoms decreased, flu-feeling gone, fevers almost gone, jaw infection about 85-90% gone. A doctor took me off antibiotics to prep for a blood test, insisting I shouldn't have needed 17 days of clindamycin, that the infection should have completely cleared up after 10. I found the reasoning illogical but followed instructions because the oral pain specialist deferred to her advice, concerned by her warnings of colitis (even though I had no symptoms of that, thankfully). I was to remain off antibiotics for 1 week.
Within 3-4 days off antibiotics the infection had exploded in my jaw again, the hot fluid-filled feeling returned, this time heading up towards my ear, creating the most hot painful earache I've ever had. It also went all around my eyes, particularly the eye of the side of the orginal infection, and on that side it also got into the apple of my cheek area. I began having the flu feeling and high fevers again, and in desperation put myself back on clindamycin.

After going back on clindamycin, fevers and flu feelings were down again, jaw less fluid-filled, but still extremely sore/painful. It took longer for the clindamycin to work this time, and a new doctor concluded I may have developed some resistance to it after being on it for close to 2 months at that point. I was put on Augmentin, but this did nothing for the infection and only made me swell (hands, abdomen, throat) after a few days. But, when I was restarted on the clindamycin, the clindamycin worked better that time - more quickly - so maybe the Augmentin had been doing some good I don't know.

An MRI and another cat scan showed nothing but the same swelling from residual abscess and shotty lymph nodes. Immune system blood tests came back normal and showed no autoimmune disease.

A new oral surgeon took a better xray of the area. He discovered that the original root canal had left some of the infected root in that tooth (he showed me on the xray, you could see it - the root canal had been too shallow), and he believed this was where the infection was leaching out from. This sounded right to me, because this was where that hot fluid line felt like it was starting from, which had also been documented by the thermal imaging.
That tooth was extracted, I remained on clindamycin, and although slightly improved, I remained ill, and the infection started flaring up again, this time causing lots of pus in the extraction site.

In the meantime, the tooth had been cultured, and "moderate growth" of the following bacteria were found:
The oral surgeon seemed concerned by this, he'd expected to culture nothing since I'd been on antibiotics for the larger part of 5 months now. He also mentioned being concerned because they were found deep in the surgical site, not just in my mouth. After he spoke with my infectious disease doctor and my regular doctor, I was put on Levaquin and Augmentin.

Because of the previous bad experience with Augmentin, I tried the Levaquin first. I felt better within 6 hours. I started the Augmentin the next day, and felt no major improvement, but have remained on both for 6 days now. Today my abdomen started swelling again, and this was accompanied by pain in my sides - just under the rib cage on each side, I think one is my spleen and the other my liver, but I'm not a doctor so I'm not sure.

Anyway, the oral surgeon thinks he may have to also remove the other root canalled tooth because it still remains sore and painful. In the meantime although the infection has started to improve, my jaw is still swollen and I still feel lousy. I'm so weak for most of the day I can hardly get around. There still appears to be some pus in the extraction site.

Any input or advice would be so greatly appreciated. I don't know what's wrong with me and I've literally had a fever for 6 months now. All my fevers are low grade, only going as high as 100.6, but they make me very ill, and I am hot to the touch when they come on.
Am I on the right antibiotics to fight these bacteria? I had a bacteria culture of my blood done, but unfortunately it was taken 2 days after starting the new antibiotics (they didn't think of doing it until then) so I'm not sure it will culture anything anyway (results not in yet). Thank you for any suggestions/advice!!!
5 Responses
Avatar universal
Since you have been well taken care of by medical and dental professionals, there is not much I can offer to help you. I can only think of nutritional and probiotics may help and improve your  general health. Wish you luck and recover soon.
Avatar universal
I'm guessing the surgeon was concerned about those bacteria for the reason you suggested and because they are probably some of the antibiotic resistant strains that are difficult to treat.
I do hope they finally kick your infection in the patooty. I do recommend caution with Levaquin though. The danger to tendons in your body is real and documented. After only 8 days on Levaquin, half the tendons in my body became inflamed and sore, at which point I did research on the internet and found out that Levaquin is the culprit.
Avatar universal
Thank you for your comments. I've just posted an update in this forum ... still fighting this thing.

The levaquin made me panicky at night and caused major sleeplessness, so I was taken off of it. I'm now trying the Augmentin again but am concerned about potential swelling and high bp (it was 185 the last time on it). After your additional info about the levaquin I'm glad to be off it even more now.
Avatar universal
I came across this post while searching for a remedy for my tooth ache. I hope all is well with you now. Your post is almost four years old. I took ibuprofen 3 caplets of 220 mg and cephalexin 500 mg and got some relief after an hour. I also bit into half a clove of garlic with my hurting tooth. I slowly/very gently chewed on it. It is sort of hot and gives a burning sensation but it helps. After a few hours tooth ache returned but I had to wait almost 4 to 5 hours to take another dose of ibuprofen. I bit into another clove of garlic and held it on to the aching tooth, got relief in about 20 minutes. Garlic may help if you have any problem in the future. Please search for more info on garlic.
Avatar universal
Wow, what a long miserable illness you've been battling; I'm so sorry..  There are natural things that you can do, in conjunction with the antibiotic treatment. I think you'll find them very helpful. 1) Buffered Vit.C - 1500 mg every three hours, 2) Garlic - one clove minced and swallowed two or three times daily (Kyolic extract or garlic capsules may be easier and more agreeable), 3) Oil of Oregano - ten drops in a gelatin capsule three times daily, 4) Goldenseal herb capsules, three capsules - four times per day (for no more than two weeks without taking a two week break), 5) soak a piece of gauze in the trace mineral supplement "Mivita" and place it between lip and gum, at the infection site (just let it sit there for as long as your intuition tells you that it's helping - maybe an hour a day, maybe three hours), 6) buy a "green drink" powder recommended by your local health food store (such as "Greens Pak" by Trace Minerals Research) - use this powder to mix with water to replace one to two of your regular meals daily. 7) Eliminate high sugar and highly refined foods as much as possible, and all dairy.  (Sugar impairs your immune response, dairy leads to mucous formation, and both acidify the body which is favorable to many bacterial infections)  8) Take a high quality probiotic supplement daily (there may be some probiotics in the green drink powder you select). It's unfortunate that the professional doctors and dentists that know so much about pharmacology often know so little about dietary and herbal resources.  It's an unforgivable shame when they dismiss and deride the very things that can bring comfort and relief to difficult cases which respond poorly to antibiotic treatment alone.
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