Dental abscess is a frequently occurring infectious process known to the health practice. The fate of the infection depends on the virulence of the bacteria, host resistance factors, and regional anatomy. Serious consequences arising from the spread of a dental abscess lead to significant morbidity and mortality. Acute dental abscess is polymicrobial, comprising of strict anaerobes, such as anaerobic cocci, Prevotella, Fusobacterium species, and facultative anaerobes, such as viridans group streptococci and the Streptococcus anginosus group. Numerous novel, uncultivable and fastidious organisms have been identified as potential pathogens with the use of non-culture techniques. The majority of localized dental abscesses respond to surgical treatment while the use of antimicrobials is limited to severe spreading infections. There is a need for good-quality clinical trials of sufficient size to identify the ideal treatment. The microbiology of the acute dentoalveolar abscess and its treatment in the light of improved culture and diagnostic methods are reviewed.
Keywords: Antibiotic sensitivity; dental abscess; diagnosis; microbiology; therapy.