What is Osteomyelitis and how does it enter the bone?

osteomyelitis is an inflammation of bone and bone marrow. It may develop in jaws from bone infection or from other odontogenic causes.
The spread of infection from dental pulp is in the direction of Periapical region. A number of tissue reactions may occur depending on the variety of circumstances.
There is a transformation from one lesion to another in most cases.

What is Osteomyelitis?

It is an inflammation of the interior of bone especially involving the marrow spaces.
   It is either acute, subacute or chronic and presents different clinical course depending on its nature.

Acute Suppurative osteomyelitis

  This is a serious sequela of Periapical infection that results in a diffuse spread of infection in medullary spaces with necrosis of variable amount of bone.

What are the common causes of osteomyelitis?

Dental infection is the most common and frequent cause, but it is not a common disease per se.
It may be well localized or involve a great volume of bone through violent Periapical abscess, chronic Periapical granuloma or cyst undergoing acute excavation without established drainage.
Most common organisms involved are Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus albus or mixed organisms.
Specific infection osteomyelitis is seen secondary to actinomycosis, Syphilis, and tuberculosis.

Osteomyelitis in children

  Maxillary osteomyelitis is common in children and often well circumscribed. Mandibular osteomyelitis is common in adults and here the bony involvement is more diffuse and widespread. It may involve maxilla or mandible.

Osteomyelitis signs and symptoms

For infants, it can be hematogenous with features of

  • Severe pains
  • fever
  • regional
  • lymphadenitis
  • Increased WBC count, loosening of affected teeth and difficulty with mastication.
  • Paraesthesia and Anesthesia may be seen in the Mandibular type at the acute phase.
  • Swelling and reddening of skin and or mucosa may result from periostitis.

Treatment and Prognosis of Osteomyelitis

  Establish drainage and treat with antibiotics.
Under treatment, a dead bone may lose vitality and separate from living bone to form sequestrum which may exfoliate if small but requires surgical removal if large. Involucrum is the surrounding new living bone.

Complications of osteomyelitis

  • Periostitis
  • Soft tissue abscess
  • Cellulitis
  •  pathological fracture.
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