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Q: What is Ludwig’s angina?

Posted September 11, 2013 in Advice Column, Norwalk

A: Ludwig’s angina is the name of a type of cellulitis — an infection and inflammation of tissue beneath the skin — that occurs on the floor of the mouth, under the tongue. It often occurs after an infection of one or more roots of the teeth or after some kind of trauma to the mouth. The condition is sometimes called submandibular space infection or sublingual space infection.

The condition is serious because the swelling that accompanies is rapid and can block the airway or prevent swallowing saliva. This is an emergency situation that requires prompt action by you. It may be necessary for a health provider to put a breathing tube into your throat. Symptoms can also include swelling, pain and redness of the neck, fever, earache and drooling as a result of not swallowing saliva. The tongue also may be swollen and pushed up toward the roof of the mouth by the swelling beneath it. Regular treatment would involve the use of antibiotics to eliminate the infection. The best way to avoid getting Ludwig’s angina is by visiting your dentist regularly and getting prompt treatment for the conditions, like an abscessed tooth, that put you at risk.

Information provided by Norwalk Family Dentistry, 1101 Chatham Ave.,     256-9000.

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