Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lyme disease and tooth pain By Dr. Leslie A. Elston, dentist

Ahhh….. Summertime in Maine. Sun, sand, lazy days, hikes, picnics and…ticks. Yucky, yucky deer ticks and Lyme disease. Lyme disease- our gift from the bite of an infected deer tick can be difficult to diagnose, but did you know your dentist may be a help in early detection of this disease?

In the United States, 25,000 people a year contract Lyme disease, with the majority of cases found here in the Northeast.

A recent study reported 70 percent of people with undiagnosed Lyme disease complained to their dentist of tooth pain in the absence of any true dental disease. Their pain could be associated with the jaw joints and chewing muscle or manifested as tooth pain that tends to move from tooth to tooth. Accurate diagnosis can be tricky due to the disease hiding behind vague symptoms.

Unfortunately, most Lyme disease patients are not diagnosed until the later stages of the disease by which time neurological symptoms, arthritis and damage to the heart and other organs has occurred.

If you are experiencing dental problems it is important to visit your dentist to diagnose true dental needs from the mysterious and vague symptoms of Lyme disease and to receive proper dental treatment, or a referral to your primary care physician for further investigation.

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