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Clin Infect Dis. 1993 Jun;16 Suppl 4:S304-9.

Oral and dental infections with anaerobic bacteria: clinical features, predominant pathogens, and treatment.

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Forsyth Dental Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


Microbial populations colonizing the teeth are a major source of pathogens responsible for oral and dental infections, including periodontal diseases, gingivitis, pericoronitis, endodontitis, peri-implantitis, and postextraction infections. Each entity has distinct clinical and microbial features. Bacterial species associated with oral infections include Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Prevotella intermedia, Bacteroides forsythus, Campylobacter rectus, Eubacterium species, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Eikenella corrodens, and Peptostreptococcus micros. Treponema pallidum-related spirochetes have been associated with acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis. Porphyromonas endodontalis appears to be specifically related to endodontic infections. Oral infections in medically compromised patients, including those with AIDS, are associated with similar species and are usually complicated by superinfection with enteric and Candida species. Isolation of species causing oral infections requires the collection of appropriate samples and the use of strictly anaerobic techniques. Rapid selective culture, immunofluorescence, and DNA probe methods have been developed for the identification of these oral species. The varied measures required in the management of oral and dental infections may include antimicrobial therapy. Accurate microbiological diagnosis, including antibiotic susceptibility testing, is indicated for cases that do not respond to therapy.

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