The vet having been consulted, she points out that, absent any other symptoms, it's highly unlikely anything going wrong with Ben at this point is unrelated to his mouth, particularly since he's not congested or sneezy, and his case is so very very bad. So...time to bite the bullet. Ben's getting his teeth pulled. Of course, since I live in a very small town, the vet has to go borrow a high-speed drill from another practice somewhere--she's done the procedure at other clinics, but this clinic doesn't have one. However, since they're taking ALL his teeth in one go, she really wants the high-speed option, so she doesn't have to keep him under for a hundred years, and she's off calling around to locate the equipment. (I find this amusing. Never let it be said these vets don't go the extra mile!)
My real fear isn't that he won't like having no teeth--and thank you all for your tales of toothless cats taking on the world!--but that it won't WORK. If he's still having uncontrollable herpes outbreaks every month despite meds and shots and lysine and all the rest...well, we get into quality of life issues there, and decisions that Ursula Does Not Want To Have To Make, Thank You Very Much.
So everybody keep your fingers crossed that losing his teeth will restore Benjamin Ninjabane to his normal fightin' trim.