An investigation of the relationship between untreated decayed teeth and dental sepsis
Untreated dental caries in children can cause both pain and infection. The prevalence of dental pain experienced by children is surprisingly high — in a survey of 8-yearolds in Harrow, 48% had experienced toothache and for 18% their worst experience of toothache had made them cry.1 However, very little is known about the prevalence of dental sepsis. Dental sepsis in children can be defined as dental abscesses presenting as localised swellings or draining sinuses adjacent to carious or traumatised teeth. The consequences of such an infection, in addition to pain and discomfort, are two-fold: firstly a chronic abscess can result in damage to developing permanent teeth;2 secondly, acute abscesses related to deciduous teeth can lead to rare, although serious, sequelae such as orbital cellulitus,3,4 brain abscesses5 and 'unexplained' recurrent fever. In a population with a high prevalence of dental caries in children, it is likely that some dental sepsis exists. Although epidemiological surveys monitoring the prevalence of dental caries in 5-year-olds are regularly undertaken in the UK, none have reported the prevalence of dental sepsis in the population, nor investigated the relationship with treated and untreated teeth.
A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that's caused by a bacterial infection. The abscess can occur at different regions of the tooth for different reasons. A periapical (per-eAP-ih-kul) abscess occurs at the tip of the root, whereas a periodontal (per-e-o-DONtul) abscess occurs in the gums at the side of a tooth root this report is made in order to investigate the prevalence of dental sepsis in Scotland and the relationship between sepsis, treated and untreated decayed teeth, oral cleanliness (visible plaque on anterior teeth) and socio-economic deprivation. Six thousand, nine hundred and ninety-four children of mean age 5.3 years were examined as part of a survey conducted under the Scottish Health Board's Dental Epidemiological Programme. The presence of dental sepsis was recorded, in addition to caries status, and presence of plaque. Main results In the whole sample, 4.8% of children examined had dental sepsis, ranging from 2% in the most affluent areas to 11% in the most deprived