Health & Medical Dental & Oral

The Causes and Treatment of Dental Infection

Dental infections occur for many reasons. This article tries to explain the most common causes and remedies for these common maladies.

The No. 1 reason for dental infection is an untreated dental decay. The untreated decay can penetrate into the pulp (nerve) of the tooth and cause a serious infection resulting in throbbing pain and swelling of the gums and face (abscess formation). An untreated dental infection can spread to the surrounding tissues and can occasionally result in death due impingement on the air ways or spreading into brain. The recommended treatment is root canal therapy or extraction of the untreatable tooth. Antibiotic treatment is also recommended in conjunction with the definitive treatment of root canal therapy or extraction. An abscess is a local infection resulting in the collection of pus under pressure. A dental abscess may be caused by severe decay, trauma, or gum disease and will be characterized by swelling and pain. If an abscess ruptures, it will be accompanied by sudden relief from pain and a foul taste in the mouth. A draining abscess is referred to as Fistula or gum boil. Most of dental infection are caused by anaerobic bacteria (bacteria who do not need oxygen to grow and multiply).

The second most common cause of dental infections is due to untreated gum disease or periodontitis. Gingivitis is caused by the bacteria found in plaque that attack the gums. When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to periodontitis. Untreated gum disease will lead to pain, puffiness and swelling of the gums, bleeding, loss of the surrounding bone around the teeth, foul oral odor, and eventual loss of the tooth. The recommended treatment is scaling & root planing (deep cleaning), gum surgery and extraction of the untreatable teeth. ANUG is the most severe form of gum disease. ANUG is an acronym for Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis. ANUG is commonly known as trench mouth or Vincent's disease, which can be aggravated by stress and/or smoking. ANUG can result in tremendous loss of structures of the mouth and jaw bone. Most gum disease are caused by Sprichete and gram negative cocci type of bacteria. Curettage is the act of removing infected tissue from a wound; used commonly in dentistry to refer to the removal of grossly inflamed gum tissue and bone caused by periodontal disease.

The third common cause of the dental infections is a hard blow or trauma to the teeth which may or may not lead to tooth fracture. The traumatic event can lead to nerve gradually dying inside the tooth and overtime becoming infected. One of the early signs of a traumatized tooth is excessive sensitivity to cold and gradual changing of its color to grayish brown color. The recommended treatment is endodontic or root canal therapy. Internal bleaching with concentrated 35% hydrogen peroxide solution can result in whitening of the discolored tooth. However the original color of the tooth may not fully be attainable.

The fourth and less common cause of dental infection is retrograde infection of the tooth nerve from blood stream. The bacteria from blood stream can lodge in the tooth nerve space and cause an infection. This is when a good tooth becomes infected all of a sudden for no good reason. the treatment of chioce is still extraction of the infected tooth or root canal (endocontic) therapy.

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