Bone Infection In Jaw- Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment
Bone infection in jaw or Osteomyelitis of the jaws is an infection and inflammation in the bones of jaw. It can be due to varied reasons beginning with smoking to health conditions such as kidney failure or diabetes.
What Is A Bone Infection?
As the name suggests bone infection is an infection of the bone and it can happen to any bone in the body and the causes also differ. Infections reach a bone by spreading from close by tissue or passing through the bloodstream. At times infections can even initiate in a bone itself especially when the bone is exposed to germs due to some sort of injury. In medical terminology, it is called Osteomyelitis.
The condition is the onset of different reasons. It can be due to bad lifestyles like smoking, diabetes, kidney malfunction.
Years back it was incurable but now it isn’t so. The infected bone can be cured by a surgery followed by antibiotics.
Bone Infection In Jaw Symptoms
Symptoms of a dental abscess or a jaw bone infection include almost all the symptoms of bone infections besides the below specific conditions;
- Pain in jaw or mouth
- Swelling or redness
- Formation of pus in the mouth
- Loss of sensation
- Fever and fatigue
- Tenderness and warmth
- Tooth loss
- Swelling of face
What Causes Bone Infection In A Jaw?
Most often bone infection in the jaw is the result of untreated cavities. Untreated cavities lead to infection thereby setting the ground for bacteria, viruses, and fungus to form. This infection gradually travels to jawbones leading to infection. However, at times it could also be due to some injury to the jaw.
Since the jawbone is strange the teeth give a direct entry point for infection and this is the reason why jawbone infections turn severe within no time. If left unattended at the right time the infection can spread to the skull.
How Is A Bone Infection In Jaw Diagnosed?
The dentist will examine the jaw for signs and symptoms of osteomyelitis, including swelling and tenderness. He/she may inquire regarding recent medical history, focusing majorly on any recent operations, accidents, and infections.
The diagnosis tests include;
1. Blood Tests
The presence of a high amount of white blood cells generally points out infection.
The dentist may take a small piece of tissue to diagnose which type of pathogen – fungi or bacteria is leading to jawbone infection, doing so will aid in finding an appropriate treatment.
3. Imaging Tests
An MRI, x-ray, CT scan may also be done to look for clearly pointed damages and causes.
Usually, whatever the tests are conducted to know the bone infections in other parts of the body the same are done for jawbone infections.
Jaw Bone Infection Treatment
Seeking dental attention immediately for jawbone infection or abscess is very much important. The dentist will drain out the infection and prescribe antibiotics usually. In most severe cases, the infected tooth may need to be pulled out, or surgery will be carried out to stop the infection from spreading to other teeth and parts of the mouth.
How Long Does It Take To Heal The Bone Infection In The Jaw?
It all depends on the severity and type of treatment administered like surgery or just medical prescription and so on. Usually, a 6-week duration is the recovery time for severe infection and about 2-4 weeks for mild infections. It also depends on how properly you’re following the medicines and suggestions from the dentist in addition to your overall oral health and habits like smoking and drinking which increase the recovery time.
Can Bone Infection Spread?
The chances of bone infection to spread are high and this is very much likely if it is bone jaw infection. It not only spreads to other teeth but also can reach the brain.
Prevention Tips For Jaw Bone Infection
- Follow oral hygiene ruthlessly
- Brush and floss twice
- Visit your dentist regularly (at least twice in a year)
- Don't neglect any injury caused to the jaw
- Seek doctor aid if you have teeth or oral infections
Besides the above causes, bone infection due to diabetes can also happen and it often leads to Diabetic foot osteomyelitis (DFO). Among varied bone infections, bacterial bone infection is common and so one should not leave any injuries or wounds uncovered, doing so will easily lead to bacteria formation and other germs.
Bone infection in the jaw isn’t common and when it happens it can be cured easily with timely intervention. However, don’t neglect it as it can lead to severe complications in later stages.