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Can poor dental work cause pericarditis?


Posted by Jim B. Facebook

My son-in-law had a tooth extracted in August 2009. However, some of the tooth did not come away, and a root was left exposed. The dentist prescribed painkillers and said he would fax a hospital in Reading(England) to arrange for surgery.

Either the fax was not sent or it didn't arrive or did arrive but got lost in the system. Meanwhile my son-in-law was in a lot of pain. When the work was eventually done the dental problem was solved. But a  month later he came down with flu. And a month after that he had his first ever attack of pericarditis.

 Can it be established that the defective dental work and subsequent delay in treating the problem may have led to pericarditis?

 
Answers (1)
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Dental infection leading to pericarditis sounds plausible.  Pericarditis is frequently viral, however if there is evidence of bacterial infection with the pericarditis, then the association with the dental work is possible.  Bacterial pericarditis leads to people being very sick, much sicker than typically seen with viral pericarditis.  It's common to have people think they have the flu, but actually have mild heart failure due to pericarditis.  The association between the tooth and heart will be a challenge, even when looking for it.

However, a very important alternative theory based on what you described is that he may have actually had the flu and then a subsequent viral pericarditis.  The timing would also solidly fit there.

So, the distinction between viral and bacterial pericarditis will be important.

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