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Deep neck infection with dental origin: analysis of 85 consecutive cases (2000-2006).

Acta Oto-laryngologica 2008 Februrary
CONCLUSIONS: Diagnostic work-up should include contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) and mandible orthopantogram. When a dental origin of deep neck infection is suspected, the intravenous antibiotic regimen has to be active against gram-positive bacteria, both aerobes and anaerobes. Surgical exploration and drainage may be mandatory at presentation, or in cases not responding to medical therapy within the first 24 h.

OBJECTIVES: Deep neck infections are still associated with significant morbidity and mortality rates when complications occur. Despite worldwide improvement in dental care and oral hygiene, a significant prevalence of deep neck infections caused by dental infections has been described recently (> 40%).

PATIENTS AND METHODS: We analysed retrospectively 85 cases of deep neck infection with dental origin out of 206 consecutive cases of deep neck infection diagnosed in our institution between 2000 and 2006.

RESULTS: The most frequent dental source was a periapical infection of the first mandibular molar, followed by second and third molar, respectively. Submandibular space infection involvement was diagnosed in 73 of 85 patients (85.9%), masticatory space infection in 28 (32.9%); in 56 patients (65.9%) the infection involved more than one space. Twenty-four patients (28.2%) were treated only with intravenous antibiotic therapy; 61 patients (71.8%) required both medical and surgical procedures.

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