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FAQ:  Jaw Pain

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Jaw bone infection: I had a tooth extracted over a year ago. I developed a jaw bone infection that was treated for about 6 wks and then was told not to worry unless my face became swollen or red.

Four months later I went to an oral surgeon who took an x-ray and found a large piece of broken bone in my jaw and I had oral surgery. He scraped a large area of the jaw bone and it seems to be better but sometimes I feel the same nausea that I felt all during the months while the infection was not being treated.

Are there consequences or damage resulting from this? I also suffered from hearing loss on one side but it is possibly just coincidental. Is this possible? I have TMJ and the area of the jaw near the ear that is in question, is moderately swollen, but that doesn't seem to be a concern. For too many months I felt like a hypochondriac always having aches pains and complaints.

I am not in the least interested in going to a doctor, but I have to admit I worry about this sometimes. Can infection from the jaw bone travel? The joints in my elbow, hip and knee are experiencing some strange pains that radiate occasionally with some swelling around the joints.

Have I gone crazy? Could this be in some way connected to the jaw bone disease I had? I am 47 years old and thought I was quite healthy, now I just seem to have one complaint after another..? ...Visitor Vermont

The jaw infection is called an osteomyelitis and the piece of bone which was left is called a sequestrum of bone. This is a small island of bone that the body will reject as being part of itself.

This island of bone can occur as a result of the pressure and trauma placed on the bone during the extraction, a decrease in the blood flow to part of the bone, and from a bacterial infection. If the osteomyelitis is caused from a bacterial infection and fever was present than it is called "pyogenic osteomyelitis".

This type of infection can travel to the bones and joints. It is usually treated with long course of antibiotics and is a gallium scan (a nuclear medical test) and is helpful in diagnosing and confirming treatment success. I do recommend that you see a medical doctor and have this checked out. With treatment it is resolvable.

The pain in the affected ear could also be a synovitis of the TM joint. This is inflammation in the joint and can be due to the over-stretching which occurs during the time of surgery.

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