This section is from the book "Dental Medicine. A Manual Of Dental Materia Medica And Therapeutics", by Ferdinand J. S. Gorgas. Also available from Amazon: Dental Medicine.
It has already been stated that the causes of inflammation determine in a great measure its treatment, and this is especially true of inflammation of the oral mucous membrane. As acute inflammation is now recognized as the result of the action of certain specific micro-organisms, both prophylactic and curative treatment by antiseptic methods is very satisfactory. The old method of antiphlogistic treatment has given place to antiseptic treatment, although some of the older measures are still employed, and may occasionally be used to advantage in relieving certain symptoms of inflammation, and thus favoring; a return to the normal condition. The indications of treatment are as follows:
Prophylactic Treatment, which consists in protecting avenues of infection against the entrance of pathogenic micro-organisms into tissues deprived of their natural coverings, such as the skin and mucous membrane, by first securing an aseptic condition of the parts, and maintaining this by thorough sterilization. Inflammation is prevented if pus-forming microbes are excluded so thoroughly as to prevent their infection of wounds. Prevention may also include the removal of a predisposing cause when local, or the lessening of its effects when it is general or constitutional. If malaria is present, quinine is indicated; if syphilis, iodide of potassium, or minute doses of bichloride of mercury. Irritation, the precursor of inflammation, may often be arrested by the removal of a local cause, such as salivary calculus, or the removal of diseased teeth, or of foreign substances, for example.
Curative Treatment consists of both local and constitutional measures. The restoration of the secretion of the different organs is indicated in the treatment of certain forms of inflammation, and also the use of such palliative remedies as will allay the excitement of the nervous system. When the cause is apparent, its removal is, as a general rule, easily accomplished; but when the cause is obscure, the condition of the secretions of the bowels and the diet should receive careful attention. To correct the secretions, purgatives are indispensable; also such other depletory measures as bleeding, abstinence from food, use of emetics or nauseants to lessen the general circulation and reduce the vascular tension. To allay the nervous excitement and irritability, anodynes, narcotics or opiates are indicated, their direct effect being relief of pain and spasm, and inducement to rest and tranquillity.