Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Real Sneeze

For years, I've been known for my ineffective sneezes.  They have been called "cute", "tiny", "kitten sneezes".  My husband was convinced he could teach me how to sneeze "properly".  But even when I tried to go with the sneeze, the best I could manage was a heavy breath along with the sneeze, which didn't really clear anything up.

Seemingly unrelated...  I've had issue with my rear molars for years.  I have a small mouth, and orthodontic work pushed the molars back further than they were meant to be, and I was always getting cavities in them.  One was removed because it was in too rough of a shape to save, and that quadrant of my jaw felt an incredible release of pressure that I lived with in the other three quadrants of my mouth.  Next time the other molar needed filling, I asked the dentist to pull it, and he assured me it could be saved and should be saved and did the drill/fill routine instead.

Recently, that tooth started hurting real badly.  I'd just moved and had not picked a new dentist yet, and was driven into a nearby office.  Between the delays of getting my records copied over, and the dentist being out of town for two days, I couldn't wait for an appointment and went to the emergency dentist in town.  They also refused to pull my tooth, and instead drilled out my old fillings, drilled out some decay forming under the filling, and put in a temporary patch, recommending I have my regular dentist put a crown on it.  It was still sore, but nothing like the pain that was making me sweat while on multiple pain killers.

I finally got in to see my new dentist.  Dr. Dupre was wonderful.  We had a consultation, and agreed to give the tooth a few weeks to heal from the emergency work before making a decision.  After the healing period I got a cleaning, exam, x-rays, the works, and had a chat about the situation, and he referred me to an excellent surgeon to remove the tooth.  The specialist was quick, efficient, and as painless as possible.  (The needle itself hurts, not the procedure.)

The day after my procedure, I sneezed.  Not a "kitten sneeze," but a real sneeze.  This felt very strange to me.  For a week I had real sneezing, I was slightly worried about the possibility of this being the beginning of some strange side effect and went back for a follow up check.  The dentist examined my socket and tested my sinus integrity and declared all to be well.  His suggested that I may have had a cracked tooth jutting up into my sinuses causing perpetual irritation and sinus infection.  If that's so, I've had that cracked tooth for years.

So the take-aways?  One, listen to your instincts, insist on the medical care you need unless you can find a doctor that can give you a good reason why you're wrong.  Two, this may be an alternate explanation to the amalgam filling theory of fibromyalgia.   Some people have gotten fibromyalgia relief from having teeth pulled, and attribute it to the mercury in the fillings, but they may have had cracks under those fillings causing infection in sinus or bone that was a constant source of inflammation.

It's allergy season for me, I'm struggling with the same runny nose and post nasal drip issues I have every year, but the sinus congestion is totally gone.  I can breathe out of both nostrils most of the time, and when I sneeze it seems to actually clear things out.  I'm grateful for my new sneeze.