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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.

Aug
17

Different Types of Dental X-Rays

During a dental appointment, it’s not uncommon for your dentist to want to take a closer look at what’s going on inside your mouth using an X-ray. They’re useful tools for dental professionals, but for the rest of us, they can sometimes be a little intimidating. Here’s a quick guide on some of the most […]

Jul
20

Could 3D Printing Be the Future of Root Canals?

Root canals are one of the most common dental procedures in the United States. Annually, approximately 15 million are conducted. If you do the math, that’s around 41,000 a day! Despite their status as a mainstay in dentistry, as well as the best way to save a tooth, root canals can occasionally have adverse effects […]

Jul
13

The Rise of Oral Vaccines

Throughout history (and especially as of late), vaccines have been a hot topic. While vaccination is an efficient way to prevent infectious diseases, the rise of oral vaccines proves this method to be an even more efficient and cost-effective way to prevent infectious diseases. Until now, oral vaccinations have focused on preventing diseases that enter […]

Jul
13

Don’t Underestimate Smokeless Tobacco

It’s common knowledge that smoking affects your oral health, but let’s not forget about smoking’s destructive counterpart: smokeless chewing tobacco (also known as “snuff”). For those of you who are unfamiliar with this, snuff is a fine grain tobacco that a user places in their mouth between their lips and gums. As saliva generates, the […]

Jun
29

Too Much Bottled Water Might Harm Kids’ Teeth

With more and more Americans using less and less tap water, a lack of fluoride could be a real concern. How many water bottles do you and your family buy in a year? How much is too much? Ensuring that children get fluoride from a young age is very important. Most brands of bottled water […]

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The information presented here is not intended or implied to be medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should be used for informational purposes only.

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