I have had swollen Lymph nodes/glands in my chin/neck for a few months. I have been posting on several boards (everything from Gerd, Lymphoma, to TMJ) about these trying to get a better idea of what might be causing them!!! I, of course, fear the worst.
Anyway a dentist did find 2 teeth (molars I think) that are cracked and need crowns. I had no idea there was a problem as I had no real pain. And I don't think I have any signs of an infection (although I did 2 rounds of antibiotics in April/May trying to get the nodes to go down)?? My question is, what is the possibility that these 2 teeth are causing my lymph node swelling?? Has anyone had an experience with this type of problem??
Any help or opinions would be greatly appreciated as my family doctor just has me in a watch and see mode!! It is making me crazy!!! Thanks!
Chronic swollen lymph nodes can result from a number of causes, although the swollen nodes in the chin leads me to believe that something is draining from the front of your mouth or face. The lymphatic system is designed to drain off infection (in this case) from the head and neck region. The system generally does not drain from the neck up, but from higher regions back and down.
It is possible that the cracked teeth might be causing a problem, but I would suspect that the dentist would have mentioned the term Root Canal Therapy. A tooth with a crack into the nerve almost always needs RCT, but given the duration of the swollen nodes, something would most likely show up on an x-ray.
You might consider a panoramic x-ray, as well as have the dentist check the upper and lower front teeth. A blood test (CBC-complete blood count) would rule out problems like leukemia. Of course, if you want to get wild, you could consider Lyme disease (spend a lot of time outdoors?), traumatic bone cyst of the anterior mandible (get hit in the chin 6-12 months ago? or have a history of wrestling?). How's your overall health? Feeling tired, run-down (who doesn't?). Does your tongue have a white coating on it? An Actinomycosis infection (although somewhat rare) would not respond to short term antibiotics, and would leave lymph nodes swollen for a while. Very, very hard to diagnose Actinomycosis (forget cultures, this creature doesn't grow in a petrie dish well, it likes humans. You got to find a likely spot and biopsy it).
Have your dentist check for the obvious things first (x-rays, percussion test all teeth). Run a blood test. You might need to see an infectious disease specialist. Swollen lymph nodes may be nothing at all, on the other hand......
One side note, not all cracked teeth need to be crowned. It depends on the severity of the cracks, symptoms, decay, propensity for further cracking (stop chewing ice, hard candies, corn nuts, etc). About 30% of teeth being crowned go on to need the nerve removed. Bet your dentist didn't mention that, did he. Nerve removal is expensive, and has possible complications and side effects. Get the whole story first.
My dentist said that Root Canal was not needed. Both teeth have fillings in them and a couple of cracks which he says will "catch" bacteria. He did do a full set of teeth x-rays so I am guessing he didn't find anything wrong with my front teeth. Just as some background I hadn't been to the dentist in 3 years (procrastination after an insurance change) and the hygenist did say I had inflammation in my gums which she hoped would get better after the cleaning and rinsing with salt water.
The nodes that are swollen are at the back of my chin near my neck. To be honest they actually seem to get larger and smaller throughout a given day. Larger in the morning when I first wake up.
I actually feel ok. No real symptoms of anything and my blood tests were OK. My doctor says they may be from and old infection but I think they would have gone down by now. This is why I decided to get my teeth checked.
Thanks I will double check with my dentist about the root canal when I go into for my crown prep.
I just saw my medical doctor for a similar thing. My lymph nodes are swollen under my right jaw starting about halfway back and going to my ear. I thought it might be a blocked salivary gland, as I had one before, but he felt around and said the salivary glands were more towards the front and mine were okay. Like you, I am on my second round of antibiotics (first by my dentist and second by MD). I too am in "wait and see mode". I hate that I have to wait for something bad to happen to find out what's going on. I saw an endodontist who tested my molars on that side and said they were fine. The teeth don't hurt at all but my jaw aches off and on throughout the day (or maybe it is my lymph nodes underneath - it's impossible to tell). Also, I haven't had a fever but have been very run down and generally ill feeling (but my son also has a bug so maybe I have it to and it's unrelated to the jaw ache?) The pain is not by any means horrible but it's been going on for weeks and is driving me crazy!
Please let me know if you find anything out. There has got to be some kind of test/scan or something they can do to figure out what this is (beyond dental x-rays)! If our lymph nodes are enlarged, our body is fighting something!
There is a possibility that the submandibular salivary gland could cause your symptoms. You could have an infection there, or some stones developing. Larger stones can be seen on a panoramic x-ray or possibly a periapical or occlusal x-ray. Have the dentist look very carefully at the x-rays as stones can be somewhat hard to see distinctly, and they may be very small.
CTMOM, maybe you can help me understand what symptoms from the stone were like?? Was the swelling very large, under your chin and close to your neck?? Did it go all the way done after you ate or did it stay somewhat swollen?? Did you have any pain?? Where?? How did you get it corrected??
Any specifics would really help me out??
I am so nervous that this is some sort of cancer. My doctor says to stay calm that it is not that big and we have time to wait but I am desparately looking for answers on my own until I see him again next week.
What are your symptoms now?? Does your doctor seem concerned??
My swelling was under my jaw near the front of my chin. It would get much larger with eating but was a little swollen all the time. It ached a lot when eating but wasn't excruciating. I was put on a course of antibiotics and told to suck as much as possible on lemon drops to keep the saliva flowing and hopefully unblock the stones. (By the way, I didn't notice any decrease in saliva - I think we have so many salivary glands it didn't make much difference.) I think he also said to take Motrin for the discomfort. It took about a week to clear up. He did say if the antibiotics did not do the trick there was a minor "procedure" he could do in the office to remove the stone causing the blockage.
My symptoms continue to be about the same. Swollen lymph nodes under the side of my jaw which swell throughout the day. When they swell it even hurts to turn my head. I also have bouts of jaw pain and times when it feels like that side of my tongue and the inside of my cheek are swollen. I still have a sore throat on that side as well. I'm really frustrated. It's day 3 of the second round of antibiotics and I don't feel any better. I called my MD today and he's referring me to an ENT but who knows how long it will take me to get in to see him. In the meantime I don't know if I should seek a second opinion dental-wise. I still have absolutely no tooth pain and my gums are not swollen but the pain is deep in my jaw below two teeth with crowns. I still wonder if the antibiotics are at least in part masking an abscess. I also feel just generally run down like my body is fighting some kind of infection. I'm getting really sick of this! Let me know if you find out anything about your symptoms. I'll do the same.
My pain (it is very vague though) and swelling is in the back of my jaw not towards the front. Last time you had a stone I wonder which set of glands it was in the submandibular or sublingual?? I believe one is toward the back and the other is toward the front.
My next appointment with my dentist is next tuesday. I am going to pin him down as to whether or not he thinks this gland or node swelling can have anything to do with my cracked tooth.
I had blood tests done yesterday and will meet with my regular doctor (again!!!) next week to go over the results. I am going to force him to send me to a ENT. This has been going on to long!!
I pray everyday that this isn't something more serious. Anyone have any other suggestions??
Just wanted to check in with you and let you know that I saw an ENT today. He's positive I have a blocked submandibular salivary gland. I don't think he jumped to this conclusion because I didn't tell him I had had a salivary problem before (although it was in a different location). He just felt in my mouth and pressed on the area that was swollen. It seems my lymph nodes have gone down since taking the antibiotics. He did say lymph nodes should not swell up and down throughout the day but salivary glands will. Treatment is pretty simple - finish current antibiotics and if still swollen he gave me a prescription for a stronger one. Drink, drink, drink and suck on anything that will keep saliva production going (even though that is when it swells the most). The gland is so deep in my jaw it didn't swell up on the outside of my chin like the last one did. If it doesn't go away on its own in another four weeks, he will do a CT scan and plan to remove any stones he finds surgically. While not crazy about surgery, I'm thrilled that there may be a relatively easy solution to this and I'm glad I didn't just go ahead and get the root canal when this all started.
I asked him about why I was feeling so sickly before and why the lymph nodes were swollen. He said likely when the gland first became blocked it was also infected. That's why my MD felt the lymph nodes, which hid the salivary gland. With the antibiotics I have been on, the infection is coming under control which is why I am feeling better. He also said certain medical conditions could predispose someone to this problem - basically endocrine diseases. I am hypothyroid and recently had to adjust my medication level up again and he said that could definitely bring something like this on.
I'll let you know how things progress. I hope he's right and hope you get some answers soon as well!
I see my doctor and my dentist both on tuesday. If my doctor doesn't have answers I am going to insist on an ENT referral since this has been going on since April (at least). The 2 rounds of antibiotics did not help me. I am deparately hoping that the gland is blocked but I can't see any swelling inside my mouth. Did you have obvious swelling inside your mouth?? Was he able to push a stone or something out of your glands??
I get more and more nervous every day that it is something much more serious.
My ENT tried feeling for stones but didn't find any. In terms of swelling, it's hard to say after feeling this way for so long but I think the inside of my mouth (under tongue area and connecting to jaw) does swell up at times during the day. I also feel at times that the back of my throat on that side is swelling as well. It's definitely an uncomfortable feeling but I can breathe okay.
By the way, the ENT said that it is not ususual to have symptoms for three months or more before moving to the next step and scan/stone removal. Easy for him to say! He's not living with the daily pain/aggrevation! Good luck with your doctor/dentist visits and let me know how it goes.
Let me know how your appointments go today. I am feeling lousy - hot, achy and just overall sick. I am still on the antibiotic though. Also, last night I tried to sing with my choral group and the pain under my jaw got really intense. It's still swelling on and off during the day. I have no idea what is going on and wonder if I shouldn't go back to my original dentist and get another x-ray. The endodontist said not to come back unless a tooth began to hurt, which they don't. My next ENT visit isn't for two weeks, at which point I would really like a CT scan or full jaw x-ray to see if we can't see exactly what is going on. However, I don't know if I can wait that long and there is no way to move the appointment up sooner. I'm so sick of feeling sick!
For those of you who have had dental abscesses - did your teeth always hurt? When you started antibiotics did the tooth pain go away? I worry that the antibiotics my MD gave me are masking symptoms. Has anyone else had an abscess with no tooth pain but general symptoms of an aching jaw and feeling lousy? If I get another x-ray after being on antibiotics will it show the abscess or will the medication have cleared what would show on the x-ray?