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Autoimmune disorders and oral health?

M

MountainMama

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Can autoimmune disorders cause issues with teeth, or just gums? What about the nerves in the teeth or jaw?

As most of you already know, this past year has been a roller coaster with dental issues, which seemed to come out of nowhere.

I have gotten some great explanations from several dentists on here about how my immune system kept the abscess on my front tooth under control enough that I couldn't detect it until it got big. I know exactly what the cause was for that tooth issue. The others are still a mystery.

I am having several issues that have led my doctor to checking me for an autoimmune issue, like:
1) unexplained mouth lesions (that turned out not to be oral lichen planus as previously thought)

2) childhood mild eczema has come back this year with a vengeance...to the point where I had to start a prescription medication.

3) random health issues over the past year that together point to a bigger issue, like unexplained allergic reactions to things that have never bothered me before

Three years ago I noticed a slightly enlarged lymph node on the back of my neck. Doctor did an ultrasound and said it looked fine and come back if it changed in size. In the past week, it has grown to where the lump is noticeable, but still not terribly big. It feels like the size of a marble under my skin.

Could all the teeth issues be connected, or just some really weird coincidence?
 
Gordon

Gordon

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It would really be wild speculation to try to answer this over the internet.

Immune system disorders can cause all sorts of dental issues, mostly to the soft tissues, but the immune system can attack the saliva glands and then decay levels go into orbit...

As an extreme example, I still have the odd nightmare (seriously) about treating patients with full blown AIDS, a period of my career that I wouldn't go back to for anything. No, I won't go into details if you don't mind, I like my sleep too much.
 
C

comfortdentist

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And how things have changed for HIV patients. I saw one the other day for a RCT, build-up and crown who is healthy with an undetectable viral load as he is compliant with his medication. I expect that the virus will eventually adapt and our current drugs will no longer be so effective.
As to immune problems and dental issues... Yes. Of course when I refer to dental I refer to the entire oral cavity and all it's tissues. A few months ago I spent the evening with the University based expert on treating pemphigus and other pemphigoid type diseases ( autoimmune) These diseases can be presented orally and also on the skin. Interestingly he stated that most all his patients were referred to him from dentists as physicians didn't have a clue about what they saw.
 
M

MountainMama

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It would really be wild speculation to try to answer this over the internet.

Immune system disorders can cause all sorts of dental issues, mostly to the soft tissues, but the immune system can attack the saliva glands and then decay levels go into orbit...

As an extreme example, I still have the odd nightmare (seriously) about treating patients with full blown AIDS, a period of my career that I wouldn't go back to for anything. No, I won't go into details if you don't mind, I like my sleep too much.
I know you can't tell me if my issues could be autoimmune related. :) I am just curious if teeth can be affected. Everything I read talks about periodontal issues, not actual teeth (unless decay caused from periodontal). I didn't know if you all had seen anything different.

I am going to the doctor this week, and will be getting the lymph node checked out soon.
 
Last edited:
M

MountainMama

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Joined
Jul 1, 2018
Messages
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And how things have changed for HIV patients. I saw one the other day for a RCT, build-up and crown who is healthy with an undetectable viral load as he is compliant with his medication. I expect that the virus will eventually adapt and our current drugs will no longer be so effective.
As to immune problems and dental issues... Yes. Of course when I refer to dental I refer to the entire oral cavity and all it's tissues. A few months ago I spent the evening with the University based expert on treating pemphigus and other pemphigoid type diseases ( autoimmune) These diseases can be presented orally and also on the skin. Interestingly he stated that most all his patients were referred to him from dentists as physicians didn't have a clue about what they saw.
That is very interesting about the dentists referring rather than the physician. I wondered about that, if things are connected, how often are those connections missed due to symptoms viewed through different perspectives?

It is all so confusing.
 
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comfortdentist

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It is a rare physician who know what's in a mouth. They receive no education on it. Just a couple of years ago the new medical school in Virginia announced they they were going to teach the most basic examination of oral structures to medical students. This was based on a recommendation from a recently accredited medical school FIU here in Miami. Now what you don't know is a dean from FIU was my patient and I had written a short proposal on that same topic which I gave him and they basically passed it on.
 
Gordon

Gordon

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My son is a doctor, what he learned about the mouth during his training could be written on a postage stamp :)
Anyway, MM, yes, I think there is a fairly strong link between immune compromised and decay, there is absolutely a link between root treated teeth failing and immune system compromise.
 
M

MountainMama

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It is a rare physician who know what's in a mouth. They receive no education on it. Just a couple of years ago the new medical school in Virginia announced they they were going to teach the most basic examination of oral structures to medical students. This was based on a recommendation from a recently accredited medical school FIU here in Miami. Now what you don't know is a dean from FIU was my patient and I had written a short proposal on that same topic which I gave him and they basically passed it on.
Very interesting. So you suggested it and now it is a reality in Virginia? Well, I can see it being very beneficial. Hopefully it takes off everywhere.
 
M

MountainMama

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My son is a doctor, what he learned about the mouth during his training could be written on a postage stamp :)
Anyway, MM, yes, I think there is a fairly strong link between immune compromised and decay, there is absolutely a link between root treated teeth failing and immune system compromise.
Thank you. I appreciate the feedback. I am very science minded and always want to know the reasons for things.

I went through all my medical and dental issues over the past year with my doctor today. She said it would be a pretty big coincidence if there was no connection, even if the connection turned out to be my immune system just temporarily getting out of whack from the infection and all the antibiotics I had. I am getting blood work done Monday, and an ultrsound of the enlarged lymph node. She is also putting me on a calcium/Vitamin D supplement.

She thought it was so strange that my blood tests done while I had the (not yet detected) abscess had a completely normal white blood cell count.

I am ready to get all this behind me! I have always been a healthy individual, both oral and physical. This past year has been exhausting!
 
K

Kns

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Sep 6, 2017
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114
MountainMama, I’m following what you’re experiencing closely, as I have similar issues and questions. I haven’t been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder but I will ask my doctor about the possibility when I see her next week. I wish I knew how to calm my teeth after treatment as I am completely overwhelmed by having each tooth nerve go south each time it’s touched. (Sometimes even without any work done or obvious dental issue). It’s so expensive and taking a huge toll on me physically, financially and emotionally. Have you had any advice on how to calm the nerves? I am feeling desperate at this point. I have seen so many specialists with no answers, only suggestions about neuropathy like trigeminal neuralgia but that doesn’t completely fit my symptoms or explain why the pulp inside my teeth go south so quickly. Good luck and keep us posted! I hope everything goes well for you.
 
M

MountainMama

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Joined
Jul 1, 2018
Messages
1,653
MountainMama, I’m following what you’re experiencing closely, as I have similar issues and questions. I haven’t been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder but I will ask my doctor about the possibility when I see her next week. I wish I knew how to calm my teeth after treatment as I am completely overwhelmed by having each tooth nerve go south each time it’s touched. (Sometimes even without any work done or obvious dental issue). It’s so expensive and taking a huge toll on me physically, financially and emotionally. Have you had any advice on how to calm the nerves? I am feeling desperate at this point. I have seen so many specialists with no answers, only suggestions about neuropathy like trigeminal neuralgia but that doesn’t completely fit my symptoms or explain why the pulp inside my teeth go south so quickly. Good luck and keep us posted! I hope everything goes well for you.
I don't have any answers yet, either, or any advice on preventing more nerves from going crazy. At this point, I am not having any more work done, even though I have two lower left molars that hurt off and on, and one of them is very sensitive to heat and cold. I know any work will just make the nerve go nuts, and since root canals don't seen to work either, I will end up losing them. I am just sticking to soft foods and everything room temperature.

If I get any kind of answers, I will let you know. Monday morning I am getting another blood work panel done. The doctor wants to start there.
 
T

thisisme

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Aug 17, 2012
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Hi MountainMama, I think there’s a lot unknown about autoimmune diseases. I live with one every day. I know for sure it played a role in my dental phobia, but I’m not sure if it’s caused any issues with my teeth. Once I started to treat the condition, I started to do other things that scared me like driving on the highway. Autoimmune diseases can be very tricky. I hope you get more answers!
 
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