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Root Canal Caused Herpes??
Apr 24, 2000

Last week, I had an endodontist perform a root canal (tooth #18) in a single office visit. Within days, several sores formed in my mouth, both beside and behind this tooth. The one behind the tooth was particularly painful and I thought it to be a canker sore - every time my tongue hit it, I winced in pain. To alleviate the pain, I rinsed with warm salt water, took tylenol and even applied a topical gel called Zilactin B, with little or no real relief. Just two days ago, I developed razor sharp pain in my mouth and throat on the same side as my root canal. It hurt to drink, eat and swallow and the pain began to radiate in my ear as well. Today, I went to visit my ENT doctor and he informed me that I have a "nerve virus" that is either herpital or two other types (cocchageal? can't recall the names) and he prescribed Famvir, an anti-viral drug.

Could the root canal have caused this virus? If so, how? I believe it's too much of a coincidence that I developed this virus so soon after my dental work.

Is this virus contagious? I certainly don't want to infect my boyfriend with this....the pain is awful.

Will I now need to begin taking antibiotics prior to each dentist visit since I've had this virus? I'm scheduled to visit my dentist for a regular exam in several days.

Thanks.

Response from Dr. Reznik

Root canal therapy can be traumatic to the tissues surrounding the tooth, therefore it is possible for this event to activate latent herpetic virus and cause an outbreak. If this be the case, then Famvir would be an acceptable medication. After a few days of the medication you should no longer be producing virus, therefor you should not be contagious. I would refrain from "deep kissing" until the area is healed.

I would not rule out a dental problem as the cause of your recent distress. I have seen numerous patients who have the symptoms you have described (radiating pain from the mouth to the throat and ear) where the cause was related to a tooth. Since you have a scheduled appointment with your dentist soon, please make sure you discuss these recent events.

I would not recommend that you pre-medicate with an antiviral agent unless this become a recurrent problem.

Feel better soon!

DR


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