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  • Swollen nodes under jaw...panicking!!

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    Old 12-21-2003, 02:36 PM   #1
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    Unhappy Swollen nodes under jaw...panicking!!

    Good evening (I apologize for the length of this post)

    I've always had a slightly enlarged lymph node under my jaw on the left side which the doctor told me (yesterday at the ER) was probably either from my sinusitis/rhinitis or from an early childhood infection that caused the node to become blocked (which according to her is harmless and common).

    My main concern right now is that the lymph nodes under my jaw going from one side to the other are swollen and sore. Mind you, they are not "huge" but they are definately swollen and I can't remember them ever being that way before and it is scaring me )-: .

    I have no idea why they would suddenly swell over the last 3-4 days but the only possabilities I can come up with are the following...

    1) I'm an ex-tobacco chewer with a small white-ish patch on my gum who chewed smokeless tobacco for 20 years but quit 5 days ago and went on nicotine gum. The doctor said she did see leukoplakia but my nodes were "unremarkable" and she did'nt see any tumors, malinancies or other "red flags". She lined me up to see an ENT next week for a possible biopsy. Could my nodes be swelling due to oral cancer?.

    2) It is cold/flu season here and I am told that there are "lots" of things going around. Could this simply be a virus or something?

    3) I got an injection of novacain when I had a tooth pulled. the dentist was extremely rude and insulting and even broke the law while I was there (long story). His uncruptulous and unethical behavior makes me wonder if he would re-use syringes just to save a buck or two - perhaps why I have swollen nodes now (although it's been a month or more since I saw him).

    4) An infected/impacted tooth can cause this sort of thing (I read) and I do have a lot of cavities. In fact, every time I go to the doctor, he reminds me that I really need to start taking better care of my teeth. Honestly, I hav'nt brushed them in probably 20 years or so because I chewed tobacco and felt that it was pretty useless since they would only get "dirty" again. I'm also missing quite a few teeth and the ones I have left are pretty much ground down (hint: I don't think you would want to kiss me).

    5) Upon discovering that I had one or more white patches (leukoplakia) in my mouth and being a chewer for 20 years, I became increasingly paranoid about oral cancer and so I read a lot about it and found out that having it can cause "an impairment in jaw movement". After reading this, I developed this habit of moving my jaw back and forth in a scissor-like motion every so often just to "test" wether I had any of the "jaw impairments" I had read about. This, I believe, is when I really started to get some pain and soreness in my jaw region but I thought only infection and cancer could cause swollen nodes rather than just movement...hmmm.

    6) Prior to all of this ocurring (and perhaps it's just coincidence), I had taken Celexa (10mg per day) for the better part of a week (I did have a lot of side affects).

    7) I suffer from acute sinusitis and allergic rhinitis but this has never really caused any swelling in my lymph nodes (that I've ever been aware of anyway). Could this be the reason my nodes under my jaw/chin are swollen?.

    These seven (7) things are all that come to mind and I'm not sure if any, all or a combination of them could cause the lymph nodes under my jaw to become moderately sore and swollen. Again, they are not huge, hot to the touch, red, etc and there is no "tracking". My temp as of the last 3-4 days has been around 98.2-98.6. My BP has been normal as has my appetite, stools, energy-level, motivation, etc. I don't really have any symptoms other than the swollen nodes. The ER doctor I saw yesterday shook her head and said "nah, I don't think so" when I asked her if she thought I had TMJ but I'll let you good people be the judge.

    As a side note, I HAVE had a small, pea-sized lymph node swelling behind my left ear that has ocurred maybe once every month or so for many years. It only ocurrs on the left side and I have no idea what this means. They are not rock-hard and they are not getting any bigger (or smaller). They are pea-sized or less right now (the ones under my jaw). I don't have swollen lymph nodes anywhere else at the moment.

    Anyway, I realize this is pretty long and I apologize for that. I would really appreciate any input on this situation and what is most likely causing it. I have been freaking over this for a week now and hopefully someone can tell me what this sounds like, if it's prety common, if they've experienced this themselves, etc, etc.

    Thank you (more than you could ever realize!!)

    Last edited by Hi_its_Joe; 12-21-2003 at 02:47 PM.

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    Old 12-21-2003, 05:55 PM   #2
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    Re: Swollen nodes under jaw...panicking!!

    You chewed tobacco for 20 years. Your parotid glands are in the area that you are talking about. One of the things that occurred when you chewed tobacco is that you created a lot of saliva that you consistently spit out with the tobacco. Now you are not chewing anymore and your saliva glands (parotids) are just getting used to having more saliva than you are getting rid of. There will be many more noticeable things going on with your throat, neck tongue etc as time passes. It will all adjust over time. But, you need to check everything out to have a baseline understanding of what is ok. So that if anything does turn bad, you will know it is something to have checked out. If you had an abcess tooth, you would probably have fever. Nothing so far says you have infection. That lends more to my theory of over active salivary glands at this point.

    Last edited by hbguide1; 12-22-2003 at 04:37 AM. Reason: (Deleted repeat of entire original post.)

    Old 12-21-2003, 06:12 PM   #3
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    Re: Swollen nodes under jaw...panicking!!

    Not all infections involve fever - only when an infection has become systemic does this symptom arise. Localized infections (this can include an abscessed tooth infection that has not hit the bloodstream) can most definitely occur without the usual signs and symptoms. In fact, it is the oral infections that most commonly present without fever. Remember, just because you don't have symptoms of an infection does not mean that the organism has not entered your body. Usually, your immune system does a pretty good job at keeping things under control. Most of us carry a lot of these bugs and virii on an everyday basis - we're carriers. When the immune system cannot keep the bug down and the organism wins out, a systemic infection occurs and you get the usual Sx: fever, chills, sweating, etc.

    I'll grant you, however, that significant lymph node enlargement due to infection would often imply systemic infection. This is not a hardfast rule, though - people develop enlarged nodes all the time due to low level infections.

    Last edited by fudd; 12-21-2003 at 06:26 PM.

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