This is just an experience that I would like to share. Whilst I was working for an emergency dental service over a weekend, a patient attended with a “swelling.” Little did he know but this swelling was extremely dangerous and required urgent attention!
The patient was not registered with a dentist, he had a fractured tooth in he lower jaw which had been painful a “few months ago” but had since settled. The swelling to the lower jaw had rapidly become worse over the past 48hours and now he was struggling to swallow.
The patient had developed a diffuse dental abscess relating to the lower left molar tooth. This had spread down, under the jaw bone, had raised the floor of the mouth and was now crossing the midline over the patients throat and airway. He was developing a Ludwig’s Angina.
Immediately I contacted the on-call SHO for the local maxillo-facial department. The patient was immediately admitted to the maxillo-facial ward and ssurgical drainage of the abscess was provided. the patient had drains in place for a week and IV antibiotics.
This case shows the importance of regular dental check-ups and that any toothache/pain should not be ignored. By delaying dental treatment and ignoring the early signs of pulpitis/apical periodontitis the patient had placed himself at risk.
Andrew Farr Dentist BDS(Hons), MJDF