Abscessed tooth prolonging the perica... - British Heart Fou...

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Abscessed tooth prolonging the pericarditis flare - who knew?!

Sunnie2day profile image

Well, I probably should have known and now I do I will be lifting my lips to see my upper gums when cleaning my teeth!

Long story short, I went into a flare before Christmas that I'd seem to shift then relapse - unusual for me as I have quite a lot of success fending off these flares. I'll be honest here and admit I've felt as though I've been dragged by an HGV since Christmas and now I know why.

Yes, off and on I did have some tooth pain but I didn't pay it much attention as I also have tetchy sinus and tooth pain goes with sinusitis...this morning the tooth pain was close to unbearable and did a quick check of my gums only to discover an abscess tucked way up at the very topmost part - not something I was seeing until I lifted my lips up to get a better look. Oh dear!

Quick call to the dentist and after he got a professional look, he told me that abscess is the likely source of the pericarditis flare both cause and prolongation - bonus, he didn't scold as he's been thinking for some time I probably would lose that tooth (damage from impact trauma, we've been trying to save it for years). Impressions on the 12th, extraction on the 19th.

From this day forward I will be checking my entire gum line every day. I feel a little stupid, I know dental and heart problems go hand-in-hand and should have been doing a thorough daily gum check.

32 Replies

Good grief. You poor soul.Glad you've got it all sorted out (well nearly sorted out!). You've taught us all something we should look out for. Thank you.

Keep us posted and in the meantime, love and virtual hugs are heading your way. Jan xxx

Good post!

Here's an NHS article that underlines the gum disease/heart disease connection,


Most of us on this forum should be changing our lifestyle with more stringent dental hygiene, daily flossing, extended brushing at least twice per day, regular dentist visits, cutting out sugary snacks, etc.

Good luck!

Thank-you for the link, it was a good read and I've bookmarked it for repeat reads.

I thought I was doing everything right dental wise (sugary sweets, em, yes, I dimly recall those) but I now know I need to thoroughly check my entire gum-line to really stay on top of potential trouble spots.

Thank-you again:)

Oh my goodness Sunnie, what a thing to happen, but at least now you are on the way to getting sorted, and your flare up put to bed.I must admit to being a bit paranoid about my mouth, before my surgeryI had to see what was called a specialist hygienist, after I had a normal dental check, everything she told me frightened the life out of me! This was done while I was in hospital so not my normal dentist.

You haven’t too long to wait to get it removed, and you will at last start to feel more like your old self.

Have been thinking about you,

Take good care


Sunnie2day profile image
Sunnie2day in reply to 080311

Thank-you, Pauline, it's lovely to be thought of:) How are you and yours - not long now before we'll be able to get out more and have folks in - am I right thinking you have some family in the UK you'll finally be able to hug again? Mine are all in the US still but I'm so happy for people with loved ones here who will be able to really see one another again properly soon!

It is very scary what a dental problem can do to the heart and pericardium - but they should be reminding us to lift up our lips to ensure a complete view of the entire gum-line when they're laying that scary news on us. I've been in dental chairs for over 60 years and never not once have I been advised by dentist or hygienist to lift my lips up to get a good look.

080311 profile image
080311 in reply to Sunnie2day

Morning Sunnie

Yes have a son on the south coast, coming up end of the month, it seems like for ever since we have been together in the flesh so to speak. The other son was coming over this summer from Australia but that as been put on hold they were coming as it’s John’s 80th in June but maybe next year!

Your so right about dental problems, as I said I have got a bit paranoid after this hygienist before my op scared the life out of me, my usual one had never mentioned anything.

We are ok, still having blood tests, kidneys are now behaving. So that’s good. John had a couple of falls a while ago, turned round to quickly. He didn’t do any damage but had bruises that were magnificent 😂

Hope your family in the US are thriving, take good care of yourself.


Speakeazi profile image
Speakeazi in reply to Sunnie2day

Passing the bit about telling patients checking under the lip line to dentist husband!

Sunnie2day profile image
Sunnie2day in reply to Speakeazi

Thank-you! I would have been checking every time I brushed if a dentist or hygienist had said something the first time I was in the chair, really. I've let my grown children know so they can pass it on to their children now.

LOL, I think I may be on a mission now!

Ouch- that sounds painful! So glad you're got to the root of the problem (no pun intended). I had what my dentist called a grumbling abscess under a wisdom tooth a few years that couldn't be resolved with penicillin so was extracted - never been so glad to have a tooth out.

Absolutely agree - I hate the thought of losing a tooth but this one can't go soon enough!

I was thinking about you a couple of days ago, hope you will soon feel better. Jane

Hi, so glad you’re going to be on the mend very soon, and feeling a lot better, I have been a bit too over enthusiastic about cleaning my teeth after being told what can happen to your heart, but now get told off by the dentist because I’ve got receding gums with all the brushing, can’t win 😏, take care 🤗, wishing you well xxx

Hi Sunnie2day

I’m so sorry you’ve had a tooth abscess that caused you to be so unwell, I’d heard somewhere that tooth infections can cause heart problems.

Are you feeling ok now?

I’m still waiting to get mine done, only been about a year and a half, aches everyday, supposed to be top of the list at the hospital but not sure what they’re taking on there yet.

The endless ache is awful isn’t it.

Meant to ring the hospital today but took pain relief and slept instead 🥴

Big hugs 🤗 x

Sunnie2day profile image
Sunnie2day in reply to Fluffybee

(((HUGS))) right back to you, FluffyBee, I wish I could wave a magic wand and get your tooth sorted today!

The second I saw that angry red and white bubble I thought of you - I can't quite believe my dentist is willing to pull mine so soon after the horrific wait you've endured. The only reason I can think of as to why it's moving so quickly for me is this is a very small mountain town and the dental surgery seems well organised to cope with just about anything owing to the distance we'd have to go otherwise.

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star


Ouch ouch ouch!

How did you manage to miss your tooth abcess they are so painful!

I lost a tooth a few years ago following an abcess. My dentist did his best to save my tooth but alas no it had a huge crack in it.

A really easy extraction in the end. Very little bleeding even though I am on clopidogrel.

I hope you feel more at ease soon.

Now where did I put the dental floss......

Sunnie2day profile image
Sunnie2day in reply to Milkfairy

I have what they like to call 'a granite jaw' - but trust me it's not as wonderful as it sounds. I used to be an extreme sport fanatic (surfing, rock-climbing, gymkhana, training dogs and horses who insisted on over-exuberant head boops, and ok yes, the occasional stupidity of skydiving and parasailing...) and as a consequence have had several impact traumas that would have broken another person's jaw and knocked teeth clean out. Relatively painless, I'd be in A&E and they'd call each other in to look at my jaw and x-rays amazed at the fracture free damage and my cheery pain-free demeanor.

But decades ago a wiser and older dental head told me one day it would catch up with me - and it has the past ten years or so.

I've always been careful to keep my teeth clean owing to the heart conditions and generally it helps but honestly this has just knocked me for six and I will never go another day without doing thorough gum checks when cleaning my teeth!


Hope you feel better soon xx

When I had my lip biopsy for sjorgrens it triggered a flare of my peri. It seems any infection or trauma triggers mine. Hope you improve soon.

Sunnie2day profile image
Sunnie2day in reply to Schora1

Thank-you:) How long did it take for that flare to clear, was it as bad as other flares?

I honestly hadn't thought of the connection until the dentist said something yesterday - but I certainly will now!

Schora1 profile image
Schora1 in reply to Sunnie2day

It lasted a few weeks and resulted in hospitalisation. I never thought about it either beforehand. Although I have a heart murmur from birth and should have had antibiotic cover which I didn't get. I don't know if antibiotic cover would have helped prevent the flare.

Sunnie2day profile image
Sunnie2day in reply to Schora1

When I was living in the US the dentist wouldn't touch me without first ordering a five day antibiotic course. It's different here in the UK and I had to really plead my case. After an invasive antibiotic free dental procedure (round one root canal treatment) nearly killed me (caused a very serious pericarditis flare spring 2019), my UK dentist won't go near me now without my first having antibiotics.

And of course yesterday he made the connection in a half-tick. I'm on antibiotics now, already feeling a bit better but surely that's more psychological than physiological. Still, good to know it's being treated and shame to me for not realising I had an abscess that might be the entire cause of the long-lasting flare.

I'm in Scotland where certain heart conditions can give the dentist lee-way to order prophylactic antibiotics after a discussion with the patient. Might be worth having a chat with your dentist as to your options.

ETA: tried to 'like' your reply but it's not working. Consider it liked - and who knows, it may turn up. Eventually:)

Schora1 profile image
Schora1 in reply to Sunnie2day

Yes my dentist has always given me antibiotics as I have to have them even for a scale and polish with my heart murmur but many of the hospital staff don't. I live just north of Manchester in the UK.

Glad you`re sorted,my teeth have been a nightmare since my 30s so I really sympathize.Hope it wasn`t a front one.xx

Er, yes, it is, sort of, it's the one just before the upper canine. They're going to add it to the rest of the plate so now the plate is for all the front teeth from canine to canine:(

Repeated impact trauma, but if I had it all to do over knowing what I was going to be facing one day (losing all those teeth) I'm not sure I would change anything. (Except the skydiving, what was I thinking?!)

Is the sky diving comment a joke or what?xx

No, not a joke - but I only did it once and wowsa lesson taken on-board. It's been 40 years since that stoopid but I'm still so scared of heights I can't even look at photos of downward views of heights.


LOL, pretty sure that was exactly the look on my face during the jump (the emoji is showing perfectly)!

Crazy woman!!!

Thanks for the timely reminder, Sunnie. I've had gum disease since long before my HA 3 years ago, but in the last couple of years my dentist has officially diagnosed it as Severe Peridontitis. I go to see her and the hygienist every 3 or 4 months, Covid allowing.

So glad you are now recovering.

Sunnie2day profile image
Sunnie2day in reply to Smileyian

Thank-you:) I hope you're doing well!

Antibiotics are a wonderful thing (if not overdone) - but once this tooth is gone I'll really feel better, especially if it works to help finally clear this stubborn pericarditis flare.

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