- Some coronavirus survivors do not recover fully after the virus is out of their system and continue experiencing Long COVID symptoms for weeks or months after the original infection.
- Doctors have already put together lists of various COVID-19 symptoms associated with this phase of the illness, including strange, unexpected side effects.
- A new report details another puzzling coronavirus symptom that follows the infection: The sudden loss of teeth, without any pain or blood loss.
The vast majority of people who contract SARS-CoV-2 will survive COVID-19, as doctors have figured out ways to save even more people than in the early months of the pandemic. But clearing the virus, a process that takes up to two weeks for most people, doesn’t guarantee a full recovery. Some people might experience what’s currently called “Long COVID,” a chronic version of the illness that manifests itself differently in everyone.
Most reports from survivors indicate that they continue to experience COVID-19-like symptoms even though the novel coronavirus might not actually be present inside the body. Prolonged fatigue, cough, and shortness of breath, as well as pain, are symptoms that can last for weeks and sometimes months. But the actual list of symptoms is a lot larger, and people can experience all sorts of unusual complications. Heart palpitations, intermittent fever, skin rashes, hair loss, continued smell and taste issues, and difficulty with concentration are among the Long COVID symptoms that people report. And some survivors have started experiencing another completely unexpected side effect that might be linked to the original infection.
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A report in The New York Times details anecdotal evidence that the coronavirus can cause unexpected dental problems. People have even had their teeth falling out without experiencing any kind of pain or bleeding.
A 43-year-old woman from New York lost a tooth after sensing it was loose. The tooth just flew out of her mouth one day without warning. There was no pain or blood. The woman had been experiencing Long COVID after surviving an infection in the spring. Her other symptoms included brain fog, muscle ache, and nerve pain.
The report also details the case of a 12-year-old boy who lost one of his adult teeth months after he had a mild case of COVID-19. Unlike the woman, who had a history of dental issues, the child had normal, healthy teeth. Others lost teeth similarly after being infected, describing their experiences in support groups.
It’s unclear what causes this series of events, as there’s no research to explain the science behind it. But doctors are starting to take the new COVID-19 symptoms into account. “We are now beginning to examine some of the bewildering and sometimes disabling symptoms that patients are suffering months after they’ve recovered from Covid,” president and medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation Dr. William W. Li told The Times.
Li speculates that the virus might have damaged the blood vessels that serve the teeth, which could explain why these survivors lost teeth without the expected pain and blood loss associated with such a phenomenon.
Doctors discovered early in the pandemic that the novel coronavirus can induce blood clotting, which can then lead to neurological problems like stroke or cardiac issues like heart attacks. Blood clotting can further impair lung function, and some speculated that it might also lead to hearing issues and hearing loss. Patients treated in hospitals will routinely receive blood thinners to reduce clotting, but those who recover at home might not.
That said, there’s no clear answer as to what has caused teeth to fall out in these COVID-19 patients. But the support group that The Times references proves the issue is affecting a number of people.