Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
(603) 742-5252
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+) font size
Physicians
myWDconnect Patient Portal
Pay Your Bill Online
Pricing Estimates
Financial Assistance
Health Library
Health Insurance Marketplace
Interpreter and Communication Services
Surgery Preparation
Medical Records
Accountable Care Organization
Advance Directives
Clinical Research & Trials
Food and Nutrition Services
Back to Health Library   Print This Page Print    Email to a Friend Email

Oropharynx
Oropharynx


Definition:

Ludwig's angina is a bacterial infection of the floor of the mouth.



Alternative Names:

Submandibular space infection; Sublingual space infection



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Ludwig's angina is a type of cellulitis that involves inflammation of the tissues of the floor of the mouth, under the tongue. It often occurs after an infection of the roots of the teeth (such as tooth abscess ) or a mouth injury.

This condition is uncommon in children.



Symptoms:

Swelling of the tissues occurs rapidly and may block the airway or prevent swallowing of saliva.

Symptoms include:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Confusion or other mental changes
  • Fever
  • Neck pain
  • Neck swelling
  • Redness of the neck
  • Weakness, fatigue, excessive tiredness

Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease:



Signs and tests:

An examination of the neck and head shows redness and swelling of the upper neck, under the chin. The swelling may reach to the floor of the mouth. The tongue may be swollen or out of place.

A CT scan of the neck may be recommended. Culture of fluid from the tissues may show bacteria.



Treatment:

If the swelling blocks the airway, emergency medical help is needed to maintain an open airway. This may involve placing a breathing tube through the mouth or nose and into the lungs, or surgery called a tracheostomy that creates an opening through the neck into the windpipe.

Antibiotics, usually penicillin or a penicillin-like medication, are given to fight the infection. They are usually given through a vein until symptoms go away. Antibiotics taken by mouth may be continued until tests show that the bacteria have gone away.

Dental treatment may be needed for tooth infections that cause Ludwig's angina.

Surgery may be needed to drain fluids that are causing the swelling.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

Ludwig's angina can be life threatening. However, it can be cured with proper protection of the airways and appropriate antibiotics.



Complications:

Calling your health care provider:

Breathing difficulty is an emergency situation. Immediately go to the emergency room or call your local emergency number (such as 911).

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of this condition, or if symptoms do not improve after treatment.



Prevention:

Regular visits to the dentist, and prompt treatment of mouth or tooth infections can prevent the conditions that increase the risk of developing Ludwig's angina.




Review Date: 3/2/2009
Reviewed By: Daniel Levy, MD, PhD, Infectious Diseases, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com


Find What You Need

Events
Careers
Foundation
About Us
Contact
Directions
News
Social Media Agreement
Joint Notice
Web Privacy Policy
WDH Staff Portal

Centers & Services

Cancer Center
Cardiovascular Care
Joint Replacement
Women & Children's
Physician Offices
Other Services

Conditions & Treatments

Health Library

Support Services

Support Groups
Care-Van
Dental Center
Social Work
Food & Nutrition
Integrative Wellness
Spiritual Care
Concerns & Grievances
Homecare and Hospice

For Patients

Pay Your Bill Online
Pricing Estimates
Financial Assistance
Interpreter Services
Surgery Preparation
Medical Record Request
Advance Directives
Clinical Research & Trials

For Healthcare Professionals

Work and Life
Financial Well-Being
Career and Growth

The Wentworth-Douglass Health System includes:

 

Address

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100