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Dental Infection

Sheila O. Stille, DMD and Hugh Silk, MD, MPH, FAAFP Reviewed 06/2018
 


BASICS

DESCRIPTION

  • Pain ± swelling in the head and neck region from infection in the teeth and supporting structures; if left untreated, can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses

  • As...

DIAGNOSIS

HISTORY

  • Pain at involved tooth; can be referred to ears, jaw, cheek, neck, or sinuses; unexplained headaches

  • Hot/cold sensitivity

  • Pain can be unprovoked, intermittent and/or constant.

  • Pain with ...

TREATMENT

  • Appropriate antibiotic, if indicated. Isolated pain (no swelling or systemic signs of infection) does not warrant antibiotic use.

  • If localized, consider incision and drainage.

  • Appropriate pain...

ONGOING CARE

Educate regarding proper oral hygiene, need for follow-up dental care, and potential medical complications that arise due to lack of dental care. 

FOLLOW UP RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Follow-up with o...

REFERENCES

1
1 National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2016: with chartbook on long-term trends in health. Hyattsville, MD: 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus16.pdf. Acce...

ADDITIONAL READING

  • Clark MB, Douglass AB, Maier R, et al. Smiles for Life: A National Oral Health Curriculum. 3rd ed. Leawood, KS: Society of Teachers of Family Medicine; 2010. http://www.smilesforl...

CODES

ICD10

  • K02.9 Dental caries, unspecified

  • K04.7 Periapical abscess without sinus

  • K12.2 Cellulitis and abscess of mouth

  • K05.6 Periodontal disease, unspecified

ICD9

  • 521.00 Dental caries, unspecified

  • 522.5 P...

CLINICAL PEARLS

  • Do not ignore tooth pain.

  • Treat patients with facial swelling aggressively, as infections can spread quickly, leading to significant morbidity or even death.

  • Prevention (oral hygiene, fl...

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