Helping women with chronic illnesses

Abscessed Tooth

My teeth do not look like this but I wish they did:

I went to the dentist a couple of weeks ago and found out I have an abscessed tooth. My dentist said he wanted me to be on an antibiotic for a good week before he works on it and that I need a root canal. Then, I went out to the front desk and the receptionist scheduled my root canal. It will be done tomorrow.

With the holidays and everything, it ended up being closer to two weeks from when I was prescribed the antibiotic to tomorrow’s root canal. The antibiotic had calmed the pain down quite a bit. However, after I had taken the 7 day supply the pain started creeping back in.

So I called the dentist’s office a few days ago and asked whether or not I needed more antibiotics. (I had a feeling, based on what my dentist had said when I last saw him, that the answer would be yes). It was. So, I am now on my second round of antibiotics.

For reasons unknown to me, my irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was already acting up before the first round of antibiotics. I wasn’t able to tie my symptoms to food I’d eaten. For whatever reason, the IBS just flared up. The antibiotics did not help my IBS symptoms any. Unfortunately, this second round of antibiotics is just extending this problem. (Yes, I am taking my probiotics).

Have you ever seen those commercials on TV where they talk about oral health being a reflection of overall health? Well, they are right. In the last couple of years, my teeth have been a mess. My poor dentist can’t fill the cavities fast enough. It’s all very discouraging.

In any event, I’ll be happy to have tomorrow’s root canal behind me. I have had one before and, after all I had heard about root canals, I honestly couldn’t figure out why people complain about them so much. What I mean is… I had heard about root canals as something extraordinarily painful. While it wasn’t my favorite thing to have done, the one I had was no more painful than a lot of the chronic pain I experience daily with my various illnesses. So, when I had that one I was actually relieved that it was nowhere near as bad as I had feared.

My biggest concerns heading into tomorrow are:

1) having a multiple chemical sensitivity reaction

2) having my TMJ get aggravated

My dentist is amazingly supportive and helpful regarding my multiple chemical sensitivity. He goes to great lengths to avoid using materials he thinks I’m likely to react to. This man is a saint. He truly bends over backwards to avoid me having any sort of multiple chemical sensitivity reaction from dental work.

My husband is driving me to the appointment in case I should have any reactions to the materials used that make it unsafe for me to drive. While I don’t like to have to do this, I have learned from past experiences that there are times it is safest for me to have someone drive me to certain appointments. Wish me luck!

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright © Jeanne — All rights reserved.

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Reading: Abscessed Tooth


1 Jannie FunsterNo Gravatar { 01.06.10 at 3:25 pm }

I’ve never had a root canal, but I have fillings in every one of my teeth, and was in tooth ache pain for years.

I’ll be thinking about you tomorrow. Hang in there. Just breathe deeply.

.-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Wacky! (This’ll Explain A Lot) =-.

2 JeanneNo Gravatar { 01.06.10 at 3:37 pm }


This will be my second root canal. I have two crowns.

My teeth have been filled and re-filled too many times to count. There was a period of time preceding this last couple of years when I simply couldn’t afford to go to the dentist. We were focusing on things like saving our house (three close calls for losing it, thanks to my medical bills).

Anyway, once I finally got back into being able to see the dentist again, the damage had been done from that couple of years that I couldn’t go. I think I’ll be paying for it from this day forward.

I get my teeth cleaned every 6 months like you’re supposed to. A typical cleaning appointment now ends with the hygienist telling me I have 8 cavities! It is totally ridiculous.

My poor dentist literally can’t fill them fast enough.

The pain with this tooth hasn’t been fun but it wasn’t as bad as the abscessed tooth I had to have extracted in December 2008. So, I’m just grateful the tooth can be saved.

I’m sorry you had tooth ache pain for years. That’s terrible.

I’m just thankful that this one didn’t reach the stage where the pain feels like electric shocks (like last year’s). That was not fun at all!

Thank you. It’ll be OK. I’ve been through much worse. Like I said, I’m more worried about MCS and TMJ than pain.


3 SonjaNo Gravatar { 01.06.10 at 4:13 pm }

Thinking of you!! <3
.-= Sonja´s last blog ..Brief Interruption =-.

4 JeanneNo Gravatar { 01.06.10 at 5:14 pm }


Thank you!!


5 KerryNo Gravatar { 01.06.10 at 5:40 pm }

Jeanne, sending you warm vibes for a go well root canal and a quick and as painless as can be recovery.

I also found that the onset of illness was quickly followed by problems with my teeth. I’d barely had a cavity before that.

I also get the MCS and TMJ dentist experience worries and am glad your dentist is sensitive to yours. Mine is as well–gives my jaw rests and just gets it which means so much.

Take good gentle care and hope to hear soon how it went. Kerry
.-= Kerry´s last blog ..“Yocadita!” =-.

6 JeanneNo Gravatar { 01.06.10 at 6:12 pm }


Thank you. Yes, I believe illnesses and dental problems can definitely be related. In my case, I’ve been chronically ill since I was 13 (and I did have cavities before that) BUT things have escalated severely in the last couple of years. I just turned 41 and the drastic increase in cavities has been in the last few years. It’s like my teeth decided to join the rest of my body for the party (only not the fun kind of party)!

Yes, I am very fortunate to have a dentist who “gets it”. The dentist I used to see before him didn’t “get it” at all and I had a severe reaction in his office one day (where he pulled out the oxygen tank and put it on me and I had to call my husband to come and pick me up since driving was out of the question). That was the day I fired that dentist and started looking for a new one. That search led me to the dentist I see now. He’s not right around the corner but I’ll drive where I need to drive to see someone who “gets it”. He is so good about using the safest materials for me. I appreciate the care he takes to do this more than he’ll probably ever know.

I worry more about the MCS than the TMJ. It’s not like I have a root canal every day. He has it down to a science what I can tolerate when he does fillings. The material used during a root canal is different. In my last appointment, he took the time to explain to me, in detail, what he will be doing/using and why. He explained that he will not be using what he uses for most people because he’s sure it would bother me (as it’s very noxious). He told me what he’ll use instead. Heck, he even drew me pictures of what he’ll be doing. He’s just wonderful. You’re right. It really does mean so much!

Thanks, Kerry. I’m sure it’ll go fine. I will just be glad when it’s behind me.


7 PoobaNo Gravatar { 01.06.10 at 8:41 pm }

Ewww, not fun! I seriously hate the dentist! Here’s me wishing you GOOD LUCK!!!
.-= Pooba´s last blog ..Ochoversary =-.

8 JeanneNo Gravatar { 01.06.10 at 9:51 pm }


Thank you!!


9 YayaNo Gravatar { 01.07.10 at 6:20 am }

I’ll be thinking of you today. 🙁

Isn’t it strange how living with chronic pain makes what normal people think is something painful not really much pain at all?
.-= Yaya´s last blog ..Prayers and Positive Thoughts Please! =-.

10 JeanneNo Gravatar { 01.07.10 at 10:41 am }


Exactly! I was very nervous when I had my first root canal because I had heard root canals used so often as an example of excruciating pain. I had braced myself for the worst. Towards the end of the root canal, it started to occur to me that the dentist appeared to be winding down and finishing up. Did it hurt? Sure. However, it honestly was no worse than a lot of the types of pain I deal with daily with my various chronic illnesses! So, by the time he indicated that it was done, I remember sitting there and thinking, “that’s it?” Seriously, it was so much better than I had feared. I was so relieved. So, yes, it struck me as odd that people use root canals as an example of horrible pain because, for me, it was no worse than pain I deal with daily from other things!

Perhaps because that root canal was no big deal, I am quite calm heading into today’s root canal. I’m aware, of course, that I’m older and sicker now than I was when I had the first one done. So, I am fully aware that there’s no guarantee this one will be like the other one. However, I’m just so grateful that he can save this tooth (as opposed to extracting it like the abscessed tooth I had in December 2008) that I’m just going to do what I have to do. Not only do I not want to lose another tooth in that same area but that extraction was a nightmare because the anesthesia didn’t work and I felt EVERYTHING. So, I will happily take the root canal!

Thanks for thinking of me. It’ll be OK. 😉


11 AmandaNo Gravatar { 01.08.10 at 4:36 pm }

Oh I do hope that the root canal went well… I’ve never had to have one, or fillings at all, but had to wear braces and have multiple teeth taken out for 5 years due to a small mouth and although my teeth are very strong, my gums are very weak so I have had to go several time for very deep cleaning because they just get so weak (and when I am really stressed I get terrible mouth ulcers)… so yes, I agree with the connection between general health and oral health!! Thinking of you xx
.-= Amanda´s last blog ..Fantasy Worlds =-.

12 JeanneNo Gravatar { 01.09.10 at 12:32 am }


It went well. My dentist is amazing! He is so careful because he knows how sensitive I am. He doesn’t ignore my multiple chemical sensitivity like my former dentist did.

I have a temporary filling in the tooth now. He wants to be sure everything is good before making it permanent (long story). I also still have the tail end of my second round of antibiotics left. We’ll see whether he can replace the temporary filling with a permanent one in 3 weeks or whether he needs to do some tweaking. It depends how my tooth behaves between now and my next appointment. It really went well, though. I was so relaxed that I actually started falling asleep a couple of times during the root canal! The only thing I had been given was the numbing shots. It’s not like I was drowsy from anesthesia or something. I was just very relaxed. I had 2 shots (“ow”, of course) and after that it was easy.

I’m sorry about your gum problems. 🙁 I get sores in my mouth when I’m stressed too. I have found probiotics very helpful for this. The kind I get are in capsules and get refrigerated. Thinking of you too.


13 MaggieNo Gravatar { 03.21.10 at 3:09 pm }

Dear Jeanne,

I’m glad your root canal went well. Your last post was the day after. Curious how it has been since with your MCS esp since there were many other steps to take place following.

I have sensitive MCS. The only dentist I’m able to see is nice but unable to research it for me. Curious about what your dentist used for you that wasn’t as noxious for your RC. I know there are many steps to this process, would you be able to find out what he/she used for cleaning, temporary filling, filling, etc.? I could then research it and check it out with my dentist to see if they work for me. I really need help with this.

Thank you for any help.
Hope you are doing well.

14 JeanneNo Gravatar { 03.21.10 at 3:51 pm }

Welcome Maggie!

This post that you commented on is actually an older one regarding a tooth that I had extracted in December 2008. It sounds like you may have read a more recent post of mine because you were asking about root canals.

I had a root canal a couple of months ago. I was concerned about this going in because I did not know how I would handle the exposure. My dentist is very helpful and takes MCS seriously. He explained that he would (with my consent) be using a substance that made me nervous (bleach) to clean out the canal but that he would be taking precautions to keep the bleach from leaking anywhere. He explains he’d put it in the canal to clean it and then suction it all back out. He used a dam and took great care not to allow any of it to go anywhere but the canal itself. It is my understanding that the bleach would not be able to permeate through.

He did this quickly and I never even smelled it (amazing because I am so sensitive to bleach). He also uses that air puffer thing to blow any fumes away from me as he works. While my root canal initially appeared to have gone well (no chemical reaction), my problems with that tooth are not over.

To make a long story short, he was not able to get as far into the canal as he wanted. (His instruments were bending). So, he was hoping that it would work. He asked me to come back in 3 weeks. By then, I knew that the tooth wasn’t feeling right.

Skipping ahead a bit, he referred me to an endodontist for what he believed was a failed root canal. To make a long story short, I had one appointment with the endodontist. He did not re-do the root canal (which had been the purpose of my visit) and did not seem convinced that the root canal tooth was the source of the pain.

I do have TMJ and I do grind my teeth but I believe it was a failed root canal. He adjusted the bite on the root canal tooth (which did nothing) and I was supposed to go back last Monday. I was not comfortable with how that appointment went. To make a long story short, I canceled that appointment. I was just not comfortable with the endodontist. So, the problem is not yet resolved. I need to go back to my regular dentist and make a plan.

As far as discussing MCS and dental issues, I highly recommend joining The Canary Report’s NING social network and talking with other MCS patients. I had posted a question about failed root canals there and several kind people wrote back to me. To join the MCS network, just click on the “networking” link in my blog’s left sidebar. There you will see a widget for The Canary Report. If you click that, you can register there. There is a large, thriving, and helpful MCS community there. Susie Collins, editor of The Canary Report, is extraordinarily helpful and informative!

There are other options besides bleach. Peroxide was mentioned to me by a member of The Canary Report. The endodontist I saw (while I didn’t care for him) had mentioned there is at least one other option for cleaning out the canal. (I don’t know the name of the product. It was a brand name).

I did have a temporary filling for 3 weeks. I don’t know what the name of the material was. My regular dentist replaced it with a permanent filling (prior to referring me to the endodontist). My dentist uses Futura bond to fill my teeth.

Good luck! Keep me posted. 🙂


15 JeanneNo Gravatar { 03.21.10 at 3:59 pm }


I was mixed up. The post you saw wasn’t the older one I thought it was. I have so many dental problem I was confusing posts. Everything else in my first comment to you still applies, though. Sorry for the confusion.


P.S. The older post about my extraction tooth was about the nightmares (literal) I went through with nitrous oxide… which I will NEVER get again:

Old post about what happened to me from nitrous oxide

Since you have MCS, I just thought I’d share my nitrous oxide story. It is supposedly a rare reaction but I had Googled it at the time and it was definitely connected. I also have a friend who has MCS and had terrible nightmares after nitrous oxide. So it might be something to be aware of.

16 JeanneNo Gravatar { 03.21.10 at 4:07 pm }


To save you some time, I found the direct links to The Canary Report discussions about root canals. I believe if you click on this link, it will ask you to register for the site.

Root canal discussions with MCS patients:


Hope this helps.


17 MaggieNo Gravatar { 03.21.10 at 7:47 pm }


Thank you so much for all the information and that you responded so quickly. Also, thank you for making it easy for me to find the web site:)

Sorry, you’re still working with that tooth and having pain. I hope your dentist can ease your pain soon and save your tooth.

Would you mind when you see your dentist, if you can, would you ask him what he filled the root canal with? Was it the gutta percha? And also what was used for the temporary filling?

I will check out the Canary MCS dental blog. Thank you.


18 JeanneNo Gravatar { 03.24.10 at 3:24 pm }


My pleasure. I hope you find some helpful information by talking with other “canaries”. The Canary Report is just a goldmine of info.

I am sorry it took me awhile to post your comment. The last few days have been very hectic.

The pain is only when I chew and only if I chew on that side (with rare exceptions). So, it’s not like I’m in agony or anything. I’ve just been chewing on the other side. It’s more about my fear of needing another extraction. Since it’s not an emergency (and due to scheduling issues on my end and my dentist’s end), I won’t be seeing my regular dentist until April (3rd week of it, if I remember correctly). I hope it can be saved. If the rest of my teeth weren’t in such bad shape, I’d be less worried. With my current situation, I need to hang onto every tooth I can! I have decalcification at the gum-line on all my teeth. So I have a bunch of little cavities. Then there are teeth that are more messed up than those. I have TMJ and grind my teeth in my sleep. So, there’s a lot going on.

I don’t know what the temporary filling was. I’ll try to remember to ask when I see him. I have a feeling he and I are going to have a lot to talk about (the whole bit where I fired the endodontist will chew up time… no pun intended). 😉 So, I’ll try to ask. I know how my dentist is and I know we’re going to have our hands full covering everything going on with my teeth. As far as any permanent fillings, he uses Futura for me because I can’t tolerate the stuff he uses for most patients at all.

The link I gave you is actually for a group in the social network part of The Canary Report. There is a blog but this is sort of a side project off of the main site. You’ll see what I mean when you check it out. Let me know if you have any questions.

Good luck.


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