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Spread of dental infection pdf

  1. 1. Spread of Dental Infection Margaret J. Fehrenbach, RDH, MST Susan W. Herring, PhD 5 he healthy body usually lives in abstractbalance with a number of resident normal Dental infection can be a serious complication forflora. However, pathogens can invade patients, especially those without adequate dental or med-and initiate an infectious process.1 Dental ical care. This modified excerpt from Illustrated Anatomyinfections involving the teeth or associ- of the Head and Neck discusses dental infection lesions. Itated tissues are caused by oral pathogens also examines the spread of dental infections from thethat are predominantly anaerobic andusually of more than one species.2 These teeth and associated oral tissues to vital tissues orinfections can be of dental origin or from organs, as well as prevention and management of thisa nonodontogenic source. Those of dental potentially life-threatening complication. Discussion oforigin usually originate from progressive medically compromised patients is also included.dental caries or extensive periodontaldisease. Pathogens can also be introduced Some dental infections are secondary order to drain the infection and suppu-deeper into the oral tissues by the trauma infections incited by an infection in the rate at the surface (Figures 1 and 2). Thecaused by dental procedures, such as the tissues surrounding the oral cavity, such as infectious process causes the overlyingcontamination of dental surgical sites the skin, tonsils, ears, or sinuses. These tissues to undergo necrosis, forming a(e.g., tooth extraction) and needle tracks nonodontogenic sources of infections canal in the tissue, with a stoma. If theduring local anesthetic administration. must be diagnosed and treated early. dental infection is surrounded by the alve-Treatment consists of removal of the Prompt referral to the patient’s physician olar bone, it will break down the bone insource of infection, systemic antibiotics, will prevent further spread and potential its thinnest portion (either the facial or lin-and area drainage. complications. However, many people gual cortical plate), following the path of today do not have adequate dental or least resistance.2bio Margaret J. Fehrenbach, RDH, medical care. The soft tissue over a fistula in the MS, is an Oral Biologist, Dental infections can result in dif- alveolar bone may also have an extraoral Dental Hygienist, and Educa- ferent types of lesions, depending on the or intraoral pustule — a small, elevated, tional Consultant, Seattle, location of the infection and the type of circumscribed, suppuration-containing Washington, and a Clinician tissue involved. An oral abscess occurs lesion of either the skin or oral mucosa.6 with Woodall and Associates, when there is localized entrapment of The position of the pustule is largely Fort Collins, Colorado. pathogens, with suppuration from a den- determined by the relationship between tal infection in a closed tissue space the fistula and the overlying muscle Susan W. Herring, PhD, is an (Figures 1 and 2). A periapical abscess attachments. Again, the infection will fol- Anatomist, Researcher, and formation can occur with progressive low the path of least resistance (Table 1). Professor of Orthodontics caries, when pathogens invade the pulp The muscle attachments to the bones at the School of Dentistry, and the infection spreads apically.3 serve as barriers to the spread of infec- University of Washington, Pathogens can become entrapped in deep tion, unlike the other facial soft tissues.2 Seattle, Washington. pockets with severe periodontal disease Cellulitis of the face and neck can or around an erupting third molar, caus- also occur with dental infections, resultingThis article is a modified excerpt from: ing periodontal abscess or pericoronitis, in the diffuse inflammation of soft tissueFehrenbach MJ, Herring SW. Illustrated respectively.4 Abscess formation may not spaces.2 The clinical signs and symptomsAnatomy of the Head and Neck. be detectable radiographically during the are pain, tenderness, redness, and diffusePhiladelphia, PA: WB Saunders Com- early stages.5 In the later stages of infec- edema of the involved soft tissue space,pany; 1996. The text, figures, and mod-ified illustrations are reprinted with tion, abscess formation can also lead to causing a massive and firm swellingpermission of the publisher. the formation of a passageway, or fistula, (Table 2). There may also be dysphagia or in the skin, oral mucosa, or even bone in restricted eye opening, if the cellulitisPractical Hygiene 13 September/October 1997
  2. 2. occurs within the pharynx or orbitalregions, respectively. Usually, the infec-tion remains localized and a facial abscesscan form that, if not initially treated, maydischarge upon the facial surface. Withouttreatment, cellulitis could spread to theentire facial area, due to perforation ofthe surrounding bone. Cellulitis is treatedby administration of antibiotics, andremoval of the cause of infection. Another type of lesion related to den-tal infections is osteomyelitis, an inflam-mation of the bone marrow.1 Osteomyelitiscan locally involve any bone in the bodyor be generalized (Figure 3). This inflam-mation develops from the invasion of thetissue of a long bone by pathogens usuallyfrom a skin or pharyngeal infection. Forthose involving the jaw bones, thepathogens are most often from a periapi- Figure 1. A periodontal abscess of the maxillary central incisor with fistula and stomacal abscess, from an extension of cellulitis, formation (probe inserted) in the maxillary vestibule.or from contamination of surgical sites2(Figure 3). Osteomyelitis most frequentlyoccurs in the mandible and rarely in themaxilla, because of the mandible’s thickercortical plates and reduced vascularization. Continuation of osteomyelitis leadsto bone resorption and sequestra forma-tion. Bone damage is easily detected byradiographic evaluation.5 Paresthesia, evi-denced by burning or prickling, maydevelop in the mandible if the infectioninvolves the mandibular canal that carriesthe inferior alveolar nerve.2, 6 Localizedparesthesia of the lower lip may occur ifthe infection is distal to the mental fora-men where the mental nerve exits. Treat-ment consists of drainage, surgicalremoval of any sequestra, antibioticadministration, and, in some patients, theadditional use of hyperbaric oxygen. Figure 2. Abscess formation can lead to formation of a fistula in order to drain theMEDICALLY COMPROMISED infection. (Photography courtesy of Dr. Michael A. Brunsvold.)PATIENTSNormal flora usually do not create aninfectious process. If, however, the body’snatural defenses are compromised, thenthey can create opportunistic infections.7Medically compromised individualsinclude those with AIDS, Type I diabetes,and those undergoing radiation therapy.Some patients, due to their medical his-tory, have a higher risk of complicationsfrom dental infections. Patients in this cat-egory include those at risk for infectiveendocarditis.SPREAD OF DENTAL INFECTIONSMany infections that initially start in theteeth and associated oral tissues can havesignificant consequences if they spread tovital tissues or organs. Usually a localizedabscess establishes a fistula in the skin, oralmucosa, or bone, allowing natural drainageof the infection and diminishing the risk of Figure 3. Osteomyelitis of the mandible, with swelling.the infection’s spread. This process can beinterrupted by dental or medical treatment.Practical Hygiene 14 September/October 1997
  3. 3. Occasionally, a dental infection will spread Table 1 Most Common Teeth and Associated Periodontium Involved to the paranasal sinuses, through the blood in Clinical Presentations of Abscesses and Fistulae system, or through the lymphatics. SPREAD TO THE PARANASAL Maxillary vestibule SINUSES Maxillary central or lateral incisor, all surfaces, and roots. The paranasal sinuses of the skull can Maxillary canine, all surfaces, and roots (short roots below levator anguli oris). become infected through the direct spread Maxillary premolars, buccal surfaces, and roots. of infection from the teeth and associated Maxillary molars, buccal surfaces, or buccal roots (short roots below buccinator). oral tissues, resulting in a secondary sinusi- Penetration of nasal floor tis. A perforation in the wall of the sinus Maxillary central incisor, roots. can also be caused by an infection. Sec- Maxillary canine, all surfaces, and root (long root above levator anguli oris). ondary sinusitis of dental origin occurs mainly with the maxillary sinuses, since Palate the maxillary posterior teeth and associ- Maxillary lateral incisor, lingual surfaces, and roots. ated tissues are in close proximity to these Maxillary premolars, lingual surfaces, and roots. sinuses (Figure 4). Thus, maxillary sinusi- Maxillary molars, lingual surfaces, or palatal roots. tis can occur through a spread of infec- Perforation into maxillary sinus tion from a periapical abscess initiated by Maxillary molars, buccal surfaces, and buccal roots (long roots). a maxillary posterior tooth that perforates Maxillary molars, buccal surfaces, and buccal roots (long roots above buccinator). the sinus floor to involve the sinus Mandibular first and second molars, buccal surfaces, and buccal roots (long roots mucosa. A contaminated tooth or root below buccinator). fragment also can be displaced into the Mandibular vestibule maxillary sinus during an extraction, stim- Mandibular incisors, all surfaces, and roots (short roots above mentalis). ulating infection. Mandibular canine and premolars, all surfaces, and roots (all roots above Most infections of the maxillary depressors). sinuses are not of dental origin, but caused Mandibular first and second molars, buccal surfaces, and roots (short roots by an upper respiratory infection, when above buccinator). infection in the nasal region spreads to the sinuses.2 An infection in one sinus can Submental skin region also travel through the nasal cavity to other Mandibular incisors, roots (long roots below mentalis). sinuses, leading to serious complications Sublingual region for the patient, such as infection of the Mandibular first molar, lingual surfaces, and roots (all roots above mylohyoid). cranial cavity and brain. Thus it is important Mandibular second molar, lingual surfaces, and roots (short roots above mylohyoid). that any sinusitis be treated aggressively Submandibular skin region by the patient’s physician to eliminate the Mandibular second molar, lingual surfaces, and roots (long roots below mylohyoid). initial infection. Mandibular third molars, all surfaces, and roots (all roots below mylohyoid). The symptoms of sinusitis are head- ache, usually near the involved sinus, and foul-smelling nasal or pharyngeal dis- charge, possibly accompanied by fever and weakness. The skin over the involved sinus can be tender, hot, and red due to Table 2 Possible Space,Teeth, and Periodontium Involved With a Clinical Presentation inflammation in the area. Dyspnea occurs, of Cellulitis from the Spread of Dental Infection as well as pain, when the nasal passages and the sinus ostia become blocked by MOST COMMON TEETH the effects of tissue inflammation. Early CLINICAL AND ASSOCIATED radiographic evidence of the sinusitis is PRESENTATION PERIODONTIUM INVOLVED thickening of the sinus walls. Subsequent OF LESION SPACE INVOLVED IN INFECTION radiographic evaluation may show Infraorbital region, Buccal space Maxillary premolars, increased opacity and, possibly, perfora- zygomatic region, and maxillary and tion.5 Acute sinusitis usually responds to buccal region mandibular molars antibiotic therapy, with drainage aided through the use of decongestants. Surgery Posterior border Parotid space Not generally of may be indicated for chronic maxillary of mandible odontogenic origin sinusitis to enlarge the ostia in the lateral Submental region Submental space Mandibular anterior teeth walls of the nasal cavity, so that adequate drainage can diminish the effects of the Unilateral Submandibular space Mandibular posterior infection.2 submandibular region teeth SPREAD BY THE BLOOD SYSTEM Bilateral submandibular Submental, sublingual, Spread of mandibular The blood system of the head and neck region and submandibular dental infection can allow the spread of infection from the spaces with Ludwig’s teeth and associated oral tissues, because Lateral cervical region angina Spread of mandibular pathogens can travel in the veins and drain Parapharyngeal space dental infection the infected oral site into other tissues or organs. The spread of dental infection byPractical Hygiene 15 September/October 1997
  4. 4. way of the blood system can occur frombacteremia or an infected thrombus.2 Bac-teria traveling in the blood can cause tran-sient bacteremia following dental treat-ment. Individuals with a high risk forinfective endocarditis may have these bac-teria lodge in the compromised tissues,promoting significant infection deep inthe heart, that can result in massive andfatal heart damage. These patients may Frontal sinusneed antibiotic premedication to preventbacteremia from occurring during dentaltreatment.7 An infected intravascular clot orthrombus can dislodge from the inner Ethmoid sinusesblood vessel wall and travel as an embo-lus. Emboli can travel in the veins, drain-ing the oral cavity to areas such as thedural venous sinuses within the cranialcavity. These dural sinuses are channels bywhich blood is conveyed from the cere- Maxillary sinusbral veins into the veins of the neck, par-ticularly into the internal jugular vein.Because these veins lack valves, however,blood can flow both into and out of thecranial cavity. The cavernous sinus is most likely tobe involved in the potentially fatal spread Sphenoid sinusof dental infection.2 The cavernous sinus islocated on the side of the body of thesphenoid bone.8 Each cavernous venoussinus communicates with the one on the Figure 4. Lateral view of the skull and the paranasal sinuses.opposite side, and also with the pterygoidplexus and the superior ophthalmic vein,which anastomoses with the facial vein(Figure 5). These major veins drain teeth Supraorbital Cavernousthrough the posterior superior and infe- vein venous sinusrior alveolar veins and the lips throughthe superior and inferior labial veins.None of the major veins that communi-cate with the cavernous sinus have valvesto prevent retrograde blood flow backinto the cavernous sinus. Therefore, den- Ophthalmictal infections that drain into these major veinveins may initiate an inflammatoryresponse, resulting in an increase in bloodstasis, thrombus formation, and increasingextravascular fluid pressure. Increasedpressure can reverse the direction of Superiorvenous blood flow, enabling the trans- labial veinport of the infected thrombus into thisvenous sinus, and thus cause cavernoussinus thrombosis. Needle-track contamination can alsoresult in a spread of infection to the Pterygoid plexuspterygoid plexus if a posterior superior of veinsalveolar anesthetic block is incorrectly Facial veinadministered.2 Nonodontogenic infec-tions originating from what physiciansconsider the dangerous triangle of the Inferiorface — the orbital region, nasal region, labial veinand paranasal sinuses — also may result Submental Externalin this thrombosis. vein Internal jugular vein The signs and symptoms of cavernous jugular veinsinus thrombosis include fever, drowsiness,and rapid pulse. In addition, there is loss of Figure 5. Pathways of the internal jugular vein and facial vein, as well as the locationfunction of the abducent nerve, since it of the cavernous venous sinus.Practical Hygiene 16 September/October 1997
  5. 5. runs through the cavernous venous sinus, resulting in nerve paralysis. Because the Submandibular lymph nodes muscle supplied by the abducent nerve moves the eyeball laterally, the inability to perform this movement suggests nerve damage. Also, the patient will usually have double vision because of the restricted movement of the one eye. There will also be edema of the eyelids and conjunctivae, tearing, or exophthalmos, depending on Submandibular the course of the infection. With cavernous salivary gland sinus thrombosis there may also be damage External jugular to the other cranial nerves, such as the lymph nodes oculomotor and trochlear, as well as the ophthalmic and maxillary divisions of the Mylohyoid trigeminal and changes in the tissues they muscle innervate, since all these nerves travel in External jugular the cavernous sinus wall.8 Finally, this Submental vein infection can be fatal because it may lead lymph nodes to meningitis, which requires immediate hospitalization with intravenous anti- biotics and anticoagulants.1 Sternocleidomastoid muscle SPREAD BY LYMPHATICS The lymphatics of the head and neck can Hyoid bone allow the spread of infection from the teeth and associated oral tissues. This Anterior jugular occurs because the pathogens can travel Anterior jugular vein in the lymph through the lymphatics that lymph nodes connect the series of nodes from the oral cavity to other tissues or organs. Thus,Figure 6. Superficial cervical lymph nodes and associated structures. these pathogens can move from a primary node near the infected site to a secondary node at a distant site.6 The route of dental infection traveling Sternocleidomastoid through the nodes varies according to the Digastric muscle (cut) teeth involved8 (Figures 6 and 7). The sub- muscle mental nodes drain the mandibular incisors and their associated tissues. Then the submental nodes empty into the sub- mandibular nodes, or directly into the deep Jugulodigastric cervical nodes. The submandibular nodes lymph node are the primary nodes for all the teeth and associated tissues, except the mandibular Accessory lymph incisors and maxillary third molars. The nodes submandibular nodes then empty into the superior deep cervical nodes, the primary Hyoid bone nodes for the maxillary third molars and Accessory nerve their associated tissues. The superior deep Superior deep cervical nodes empty into either the infe- cervical lymph nodes Omohyoid muscle rior deep cervical nodes or directly into the jugular trunk and then into the vascu- lar system. Once the infection is in the vas- Jugulo-omohyoid Supraclavicular cular system, it can spread to all tissues lymph node lymph node and organs as previously discussed. A lymph node involved in infection undergoes lymphadenopathy, which Internal jugular vein Clavicle (cut) results in a size increase and a change in consistency of the lymph node so it Inferior deep cervical becomes palpably firm.3 Evaluation of Thoracic duct the involved nodes can determine the lymph nodes degree of regional involvement of the infectious process, which is instrumen-Figure 7. Deep cervical lymph nodes and associated structures. tal in diagnosis and management of the infectious process.2Practical Hygiene 17 September/October 1997
  6. 6. protocol during nonsurgical dental treat- ment, such as restorative and periodontal debridement therapy, to prevent the spread of infection.4 This may include the removal of heavy plaque accumulations or the use of an antiseptic prerinse prior to treatment. During treatment, the use of a rubber dam or an antimicrobial-laced external water supply with ultrasonics or irrigators may be of help in preventing the spread of infection. After treatment, this might include an antiseptic postrinse at home or antibiotic coverage. Finally, it is important to not administer a local anes- thetic through an area of dental infection, Sublingual Sublingual as this could move pathogens deeper into salivary space the tissues. gland A thorough medical history with Mandible Submandibular periodic updates will allow the dental space professional to perform safe treatment Mylohyoid on medically compromised patients, to muscle avoid serious complications of their den- Investing tal diseases. These patients may require Submandibular fascia salivary gland antibiotic premedication before dental Platysma treatment to prevent any serious seque- Diagastric lae or other changes in the dental treat- muscle Hyoid muscle bone ment plan.7 A medical consultation is indicated when there is uncertainty regarding the risk of opportunistic infec- tion for the individual patient.9, 10Figure 8. Frontal section of the head and neck highlighting the submandibular and CONCLUSION sublingual spaces. Dental infections can have significantSPREAD BY SPACES submental space, sublingual space, or medical ramifications, including death.The spaces of the head and neck can even the submandibular space itself. Then As the health care practitioner most famil-allow the spread of infection from the the infection spreads to the sub- iar with patients’ oral health, the dentalteeth and associated oral tissues because mandibular space bilaterally, with a risk of hygienist must be knowledgeable of thethe pathogens can travel within the fascial infiltration to the parapharyngeal space appearances, causes, and symptoms ofplanes, from one space near the infected of the neck. With this complication, there dental infection lesions.site to another distant space, by the spread is massive bilateral submandibular REFERENCESof the related inflammatory exudate.2 regional swelling, which extends down 1. Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary. 28th ed. the anterior cervical triangle to the clavi- Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 1994.When involved in infections, the space 2. Hohl TH, Whitacre RJ, Hooley JR, Williams BL.can undergo cellulitis, which can cause cles. Swallowing, speaking, and breathing Diagnosis and Treatment of Odontogenic Infec-a change in the normal proportions of may be difficult; high fever and drooling tions. Seattle, WA: Stoma Press; 1983.the face (Table 2). are evident. Respiratory obstruction may 3. Bath-Balogh M, Fehrenbach MJ. Illustrated Den- If the maxillary teeth and associated rapidly develop because the continued tal Embryology, Histology, and Anatomy. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 1997.tissues are infected, the infection can swelling displaces the tongue upwards 4. Perry DA, Beemsterboer PL, Taggart EJ. Peri-spread into the maxillary vestibular space, and backwards, thus blocking the pha- odontology for the Dental Hygienist. Philadel-buccal space, or canine space. If the ryngeal airway. As the parapharyngeal phia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 1996.mandibular teeth and associated tissues space becomes involved, edema of the 5. Kasle MJ. An Atlas of Dental Radiographic larynx may cause complete respiratory Anatomy. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saun-are infected, the infection can spread into ders Company; 1990.the mandibular vestibular space, buccal obstruction, asphyxiation, and death. 6. Ibsen OC, Phelan JA. Oral Pathology for thespace, submental space, sublingual space, Ludwig’s angina is an acute medical emer- Dental Hygienist. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB gency requiring immediate hospitaliza- Saunders Company; 1996.submandibular space, or the space of the tion and may necessitate an emergency 7. Tyler MT, Lozada-Nur F. Clinician’s Guide tobody of the mandible. From these spaces, Treatment of Medically Compromised Dentalthe infection can spread into other spaces cricothyrotomy to create a patent airway. Patients. New York, NY: American Academy ofof the jaws and neck, possibly causing Oral Medicine; 1995. PREVENTION OF THE SPREAD 8. Gray H. Gray’s Anatomy. 37th ed. New York,serious complications, such as Ludwig’s OF DENTAL INFECTIONS NY: Churchill and Livingstone; 1989.angina.2 Early diagnosis and treatment of dental 9. Genco RJ, Newman MG, et al, eds. Annals of Ludwig’s angina is a cellulitis of the infections must occur for all patients. Par- Periodontology. Chicago, IL: American Acad-submandibular space (Figure 8).6 This ticular care must be taken not to conta- emy of Periodontology; 1996.involves a spread of infection from any of minate surgical sites, such as those from 10. Bottomley WK, Rosenberg SW. Clinician’s Guide to Treatment of Common Oral Conditions. 3rdthe mandibular teeth or associated tis- extractions or implant placement. There ed. New York, NY: American Academy of Oralsues to one space initially, either the must also be a strict adherence to aseptic Medicine; 1993.Practical Hygiene 18 September/October 1997
  7. 7. ne To submit your CE Exercise al HygiePractic answers, please use the nal of 7 er 199 T he Jour mber/ Octob SepteVo l u m e 6 • Numb enclosed Answer Card found er 5 opposite page 52, and complete it as follows: 1) Complete the ing Imp rov ions address; 2) Identify the Article/ 5 icat Com mun ng Amo Den tal ls iona Pro fess Exercise Number; 3) Place an x UTHSCSA in the appropriate answer box for each question. Return the sm tion Dental Infec Pathogens: Spread of completed card to the indicated address. ial-Resistant ES of Antimicrob Emergence Concern TUR A Growing Contagion Fear and HIV The 10 multiple-choice questions for this CE exer- Dental FEA EMENT CTS SUPPL E PRODU ORAL HYGIEN UTOMATED SPECIAL A cise are based on the article “Spread of Dental A Montage Media Publicatio n Infection” by Margaret J. Fehrenbach, RDH, MS,and Susan W. Herring, PhD. This article is on pages 13-18. Answers for thisexercise will be published in the November/December 1997 issue of TheJournal of Practical Hygiene.Learning Outcomes:• Cite the cause of dental infection.• Cite the potential consequences of various dental lesions.• Describe the spread of dental infection throughout the body. 1. What directly causes dental infection involving the teeth or associated tissues? A. A specific, aerobic oral pathogen predominant in the oral mucosa. B. Cellulitis of the ethmoid sinus. C. Oral pathogens that are mainly anaerobic and usually of more than one species. D. Proliferating bacteria transferred via the blood system of the head and neck. 2. What is a potential consequence of orofacial cellulitis? A. Edema of the diaphragm. B. A facial abscess that may discharge upon the surface. C. The lodging of bacteria deep within the lungs. D. Osteoarthritis. 3. Continuation of orofacial osteomyelitis can lead to: A. Abscesses of the inner ear. B. Bone resorption and sequestra formation. C. Paresthesia of the lower extremities. D. Weakening of the central nervous system. 4. Most infections of the maxillary sinuses are of dental origin. A. True. B. False. 5. What early radiographic evidence indicates sinusitis? A. A localized abscess of the sinus walls. B. Decreased opacity of the sinus ostia. C. Enlargement of the sinus ostia. D. Thickening of the sinus walls. 6. What is a potential consequence of sinusitis? A. Increased opacity and perforation of the sinus walls. B. Localized paresthesia of the lower lip. C. Dysphagia. D. Nerve damage. 7. How can infection from the teeth and associated oral tissues spread throughout the body? A. Always due to overall decreased immunity. B. Through infectious saliva. C. Through the blood system of the head and neck. D. Through the transference of infectious cells. 8. Which of the following is most likely to be involved in the poten- tially fatal spread of dental infection? A. The carotid sinus. B. The cavernous sinus. C. The dural venous sinuses. D. The lymphatic sinus. 9. What are the potential consequences of Ludwig’s angina? A. Decreased blood flow to the brain. B. Decreased metabolism. C. Muscle atrophy. D. Respiratory obstruction, asphyxiation, and death. 10. Why should a local anesthetic not be administered through an area of dental infection? A. Decreased area blood flow increases toxicity. B. Needle causes a negative ionic field. C. This could move pathogens deeper into the tissues. D. Pathogens may enter saliva and be swallowed.Practical Hygiene 19 September/October 1997