Dr. Robert Axelrad Dental Office

Making Brampton Smile Since 1997

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The Stages of Tooth Decay

The Stages of Tooth Decay

A dental cavity, if left untreated can lead to a dental abscess and furthermore to a large facial swelling.

In the blog “Anatomy of a Toothache,” posted on October 28, 2012, we track the progression of a cavity.

The bacteria associated with a pulpal invasion ultimately extend beyond the opening at the end of the root. When the bacteria traverse through the root opening, they enter an area called the peri-apical area. The result of this is often a dental abscess…this is infectious tissue (pus).

Stage One – Infection in the Bone-Tremendous Pain
An abscess can be very painful. Picture this: an object trying to expand inside of a cement block…expansion is almost impossible!

An acute abscess can be looked at as a smaller version of this. The infection is trying to expand in the jaw bone which is like a cement block.

The pain can be sharp, throbbing and shooting. The mere touch of the tooth can cause severe pain.

Once the infection moves from the dense bone into the soft tissues, the result is usually immediate pain relief followed by swelling.

Stage Two – Soft Tissue Swelling
A swelling occurs when the infection travels beyond the bone and into the soft tissues of the face. Once in the soft tissues, the infection is suddenly able to expand. The consequences of this can be quite different depending on which jaw is involved and the extent of the swelling. For instance:

1. The Upper Jaw – Upper Jaw (known as the maxilla) – infections have been known to travel up to the eye and also into the maxillary sinuses.

2. Lower Jaw – (known as the mandible) – the infection can grow and close air spaces (called Ludwigs Angina), which can lead to suffocation.

Extreme Cases

Or it can also involve the heart.

By this time, the swellings have become life threatening.

These extreme swellings are called an Osteomyelitis, when the bone is involved. When the soft tissues are affected, they are called a Cellulitis.

In the next blog, we will look at how these swellings should be treated…until then.

Yours in good dental health,

Dr. Robert Axelrad, Brampton Dentist

Posted in Blog |

Our office is now open. We are taking the following precautions to combat COVID-19;

  • A plexiglass barrier stands on the front desk in the waiting room.
  • All patients have their temperature taken with a non-touch digital infra-red thermometer.
  • All staff wear mask, gloves, gown, bonnet, goggles and face shield.
  • Hand sanitizers are readily available for staff and patient use.
  • Patients will wait outside or in their car until their appointment time.
  • No visitors are permitted in the office.
  • Social distancing will remain in effect in the office.
  • Patients experiencing influenza-like-illness (fever with a cough, sore throat or muscle aches) should not come to the office.
  • Air purifiers with hepa filters have been installed in each operatory and waiting room.
  • All COVID-19 precautions put forth by both the dental and hygiene boards have been put into force in the office.

We look forward to seeing you soon. 
Dr Axelrad and Staff