By Susan Braden
Mouth infections are be painful, but they can also be very dangerous. Some infections could lead to a life-threatening disease called Ludwig’s angina. However, this condition is easily preventable if you go in for regular dentist visits using your individual dental plan.
Ludwig’s angina is an infection caused by bacteria on the floor of the mouth. It is a form of cellulitis that inflames the tissue under the tongue. It often occurs after an oral injury or an infection of the individual roots of the teeth like a tooth abscess. The disease does not usually occur in children. Swollen tissues may block the airway or prevent the swallowing of saliva. Some other symptoms include:
Examining the neck and head will show swelling and redness under the chin. The swelling might extend to the floor of the mouth, and the tongue would be swollen or misplaced. Bacteria is sometimes visible in the fluid from the tissues. Your doctor might recommend a CT scan. Your individual plan will save you money should you need treatment for infections, so you might want to plan ahead.
Emergency medical help will become necessary if the swelling blocks the airway. Emergency treatment might involve an individual breathing tube through the throat or nose into the lungs. It also could involve a surgery called tracheostomy in which an opening is created into the windpipe through the neck. Antibiotics help fight the infection. Usually, they are given through a vein until the symptoms go away, and antibiotics taken orally are continued until the bacterium is completely cleared.
If you are experiencing difficulty breathing, go to the hospital immediately or call your local emergency number. If you have any symptoms of this disease or your symptoms are not improving after treatment, call your healthcare provider.
This problem can be very dangerous, even life-threatening. However, it is easily cured with antibiotics and protection of the airways. Possible complications include a blocked airway, sepsis (generalized infection) and septic shock.
Ludwig’s angina could start with just a small mouth infection or injury. You can help prevent the conditions that cause the disease by visiting your dentist regularly and receiving immediate treatment for any infections. An individual dental plan can ease the financial burden of these important oral health measures.