Thursday, October 15, 2020
Flora’s abscess came back just one month after her operation. One theory: High-dose steroids — often a double-edged sword in patients whose immune systems are already failing — paralyzed her defenses. But in a healthy woman like Flora, that wasn’t likely.
Had the abscess needed more thorough drainage? Once again, probably not. In most brain abscesses that erupt seemingly out of nowhere, surgical drainage plus well-chosen antibiotics are perfectly sufficient treatment.
One more clue continued to trouble Omid. While examining Flora’s mouth during his pre-op exam, he saw gingivitis. He also learned that, a decade earlier, the native of Armenia had received eight dental implants after moving to the U.S. It was time to take a closer look at Flora’s teeth using a CT scan, which could offer a more in-depth view than a standard dental X-ray.
Bingo. Two weeks after her second operation, Flora’s CT scan revealed “periapical lucency” — light or moth-eaten bone — at the base of an implant at the back of her mouth. It was as if a bright yellow highway sign had just pointed to the answer.
Days later, a specialist removed hardware and screws from side-by-side molar implants in Flora’s right lower jaw. Pus immediately welled from their sockets, but drainage of the dental abscess and antibiotics led to rapid healing.
I knew it! Never get dental work in Armenia.