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"Your dentist may suspect Lyme disease if you have a mysterious toothache that can't be attributed to cavities," says Dr. Cordero.
In the study, about 70 percent of patients with Lyme disease reported dental pain in the absence of dental disease, and the dental pain tended to move from tooth to tooth. Of these patients, 36 percent had multiple dental treatments, including root canals and tooth extraction unnecessarily.
"Early diagnosis is critical because in its late stages, Lyme disease can lead to neurological symptoms and arthritis and can involve the heart and other organs," says Dr. Cordero. "Filling out a proper medical history will help the dentist detect this mysterious disease."
The majority of Lyme disease patients are found in the Northeast, but the disease has also been reported in the North Central and Pacific Coast regions. Up to 25,000 people in the United States contract Lyme disease each year.
Updated: November 2008
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