Rockford asked in HealthDental · 1 decade ago

How come when when you have a dental infection, your white blood count doesn't rise?

I was told by a dental specialist that I had a wisdom tooth infection for at least six months to a year. I had swollen lymph nodes with no fever, but drop dead fatigue.

Why wouldn't your white blood count rise when you have a long low-grade dental infection? Or at least get a fever?

Update:

My temperature never went above 97.5 the whole time and the pus that came out of the tooth was absolutely gross. It smelled like death.

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  • 1 decade ago
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    In short, your body was doing what it was supposed to do...your lymph nodes were swollen so that means your immune system had kicked in and was taking care of the situation the best it could. Lymph nodes are a filter, if you want to imagine it that way, and when blood is run through that filter, if it has alot of bad bacteria in it, the lymph nodes basically stop it there before it gets to other parts of the body. That is a very, very basic way of explaining the lymph system, but it gets my point across. So when you can feel a swollen node anywhere in your body (you have many of them), you know your body is fighting an infection in that area. White Blood Cell counts (WBC) can increase during an infection, but usually only during the initial phase of it, after awhile the counts will go back down if it's a prolonged infection, usually to the high end of the normal range because the body can't/won't maintain that fight long term, it hands the problem over to the lymph nodes if it can handle it ok. When the lab does a WBC, there is a normal range of 5,000 to 11,000...you can have a count of 10,999 and it will still count as "normal" but that would indicate that your body is fighting something. The action of your body increasing it's temperature (a fever) is another method to fight an "invader", many bacteria can only live at an optimal temperature range and a higher temp. can kill them. You may have had a fever at the beginning of the infection and not realized it (most people don't take their temps every day, so it's not reasonable to say it never went over 97.5 the whole time). Your body won't maintain a fever for a long time, if that's not working to suppress or kill the bacteria, it has other methods, such as the lymph nodes. The symptom of fatigue is common, it may or may not be related to this particular infection. Hard to say. It seems like your immune system is sound and doing it's job, that's a good thing. And I'm glad you got rid of that infected tooth. The lymph nodes should go back to normal size now. Hope this answered your questions.

    Source(s): Dental hygienist for 20 years...Medical Laboratory Technologist for 5 years prior to that. I'm a good one to answer this question!
  • 4 years ago

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