Hospitalizations due to oral infection on the rise in the US

When treated in a timely fashion, dental infections or “abscesses” can normally be managed in the an office setting.  Unfortunately if left untreated, dental abscesses can have serious consequences requiring hospitalization.

In the past few years, during the economic downturn/recession/depression, we noted an increase in the number of patients presenting to our office with serious dental infections and facial swelling.  This suspicion was recently confirmed by a study in the September 2013 issue of the Journal of Endodontics.  In an 8-year period there were over 61000 such cases in the US and close to 90% of them required hospitalization.  See the study on this link:

http://www.ada.org/epubs/highroad/jadaEndodontics/Oct2013/endodontics131023.html#one

This is why its so critical to see your dentist if you have a dental infection.  Signs: pain, pressure, bad taste in the mouth, limitation in how far you can open the mouth, swelling in the gum and externally on the face, fever, chills…

Dental infections can quickly turn for the worst.  As the swelling increases, you may notice difficulty in swallowing and breathing.  If you notice any such symptom, you need to immediately head to the closet ER or call 911.