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The Battleground At the Root of An Infected Tooth

Posted by: Dr. Sirakian     Categories: Uncategorized

When a tooth is so badly infected that the bacteria make their way through the entire tooth and reach the gums beneath, the result is a painful infection at the base of the tooth (known as a periapical lesion). In addition to the general inflammatory pain at the site of infection, any pressure applied on the tooth would result in extreme pain. But what exactly is happening at the site of infection on a microscopic level?

When the bacteria first break through the bottom of the tooth and reach the gums, the body is signaled to send a large number of defensive cells (neutrophils) to the site of the infection. The body’s main objective is to contain the infection and prevent it from spreading. The spread of infection is halted in three ways:

  • Degranulation – The neutrophils release a substance that contains enzymes that attack the bacteria.
  • Extracellular traps – The neutrophils release some of their DNA strands to form nets that capture and entangle the invading bacteria.
  • Phagocytosis – Finally, the neutrophils ‘eat’ the bacteria, encasing them within their own cellular walls in order to destroy the bacteria.

After the battle is over, there’s a large mass of dead cells, dead bacteria, enzymes, and neutrophil DNA at the site of infection. To the naked eye, this may look like pus or an abscess. The enzymes in the pus irritate the surrounding tissue, leading to what dentists call “acute apical periodontitis”.

All of this can be avoided with regular visits to the dentist, ensuring that the tooth doesn’t even reach this level of infection. Be sure to book an appointment with your dentist before it’s too late.

Oct
23

What Your Bone Type Could Mean For Dental Implant Treatment

“It depends.” That’s probably an answer you will often hear if you’re considering getting dental implants. This is because there are so many things to consider when placing a dental implant. One of the many considerations that your dentist needs to take into account before placing a dental implant is what type of bone you […]

Oct
15

The Battleground At the Root of An Infected Tooth

When a tooth is so badly infected that the bacteria make their way through the entire tooth and reach the gums beneath, the result is a painful infection at the base of the tooth (known as a periapical lesion). In addition to the general inflammatory pain at the site of infection, any pressure applied on […]

Oct
8

Please, Please, Please Don’t File Down Your Teeth

We’ve seen a disturbing trend on TikTok where people, mostly teens, have been filing down their front teeth in order to make them ‘even’ or ‘straight’. We can’t believe we have to say this, but please don’t do it. We can’t stress enough just how bad this is, but let’s discuss the gruesome details of […]

Oct
1

The Time Right After Your Tooth-Whitening Treatment is Critical

Teeth bleaching has been shown to be an effective and lasting treatment for stained teeth time and again. With the right treatment protocols, some patients even report white teeth lasting for a year or more. But regardless of which tooth bleaching treatment you get, here are some things to know if you want to maximize […]

Sep
24

What Are Periodontal Pockets and Can You Keep Your Phone In One?

We’ll start off by making it clear that, no, you can’t keep anything in your periodontal pockets. In fact, the smaller they are the better. You may not notice it, but your gums are not completely attached to your teeth at the gum line. At first there’s actually a small gap between the tooth and […]

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