BENGALURU: Srinath HM, a 52-year-old chartered accountant, experienced “shaky” tooth and severe pain in his jaw 18 days after recovering from Covid-19. Assuming it to be some teeth-related issue, he visited a dentist only to be told that it was the initial stage of mucormycosis (black fungus) and his tooth had to removed.
“Thankfully, we could save Srinath from his infection beginning in his tooth region and extending to other facial nerves, including his brain. It could have been fatal,” said Dr Mohan N, senior dentist at a private hospital in Bengaluru.
Like Srinath, there have been many people reporting mobile or shaky teeth referring to displacement of a tooth beyond its normal physiological boundaries after recovering from Covid-19.
A study by Dr Girish Gowda, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Dentist, Dental Surgeon, at Astra Super Speciality Hospital, found that with an increase in mucormycosis cases came reports of people suffering from teeth-related issues later diagnosed as black fungus.
He says, a loose tooth can occur due to multiple reasons. However, if one experiences a loose tooth after recovering from Covid-19, it could indicate bone exposure which leaves room for fungal attack. Hence, it is a sign one must not ignore, he added.
Dr Kiran Kumar N, Professor and HoD, Government Dental College, Bengaluru, said that black fungus is an opportunistic infection that is seen mostly in immunocompromised post-Covid patients. While studies have shown that the new mutant variant may be behind this, he explains, “Loosening of teeth and jaw pain are oral signs … but along with that, more importantly, sinus blockage, blackish discharge and discoloration over nasal bridge area should not be ignored,” he added.
The fungus is known to affect mainly eyes, ears and oral cavity. When asked about its effects on the mouth, Dr Girish said, “The symptoms range from bad breath to loose teeth. It is necessary that doctors advise patients, who have recovered from Covid-19, to go for regular oral check-ups for at least a month after recovery. An infection in mouth can increase the viral load of the disease.”
“In order to maintain good oral hygiene, gargle with 2% povidine iodine solution. To keep sinuses clear, steam inhalation is recommended. Nasal irrigation with betadine will also help. Also, Covid-19 recovered patients should consume a high protein, low sugar diet, and take Vitamins A, E and B-Complex,” Dr Kiran said.