Microbiology: dental infections



Most patients with severe odontogenic infections are successfully treated with large spectrum probabilistic antibioc therapy, drainage of the collections and tooth treatment or extraction and are discharged home before antibiotic sensitivity results were available. The investigators hypothesized whether bacteriological sampling should be systematically performed in the management of patients with severe odontogenic infections.


The investigators implemented a prospective observational study. The sample was composed of patients managed between January 2004 and December 2014 for severe odontogenic infection based on three criteria: hospital admission, intravenous antibiotic therapy, tooth extraction and collections drainage under general anesthesia. The predictor variable was the results of bacteriological sampling, culture and sensitivity. The outcome variable was antibiotic therapy adaptation according to antibiotic sensitivity results.


The sample was composed of 653 patients; 386 (59%) were male and 267 (41%) female, with a mean age of 37 years (range 18–88); 378 (58%) patients had been receiving oral antibiotics before admission to hospital, for a mean duration of 4.1 days (range 1 – 30). About 535 (81.9%) patients had swabs taken during surgery. Microorganisms were observed in 477 (89.1%) patients but in 377 (70.5%) they were polymorphic oropharyngeal flora. After culture, at least one antibiogram was obtained for 91 (17%) patients and the results led to antibiotic therapy being adapted in 23 (4.3%) patients.


The results suggest that bacteriological analysis had an impact on evolution in less than 5% of patients. Future studies will focus on the patients for whom the bacteriological analysis is essential.

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