Dental Infections

To tell you the tooth you’ll probably see quite a few kids with dental related complaints in the Pediatric Emergency Department. This can range from cavities to invasive infections. Brush up on all things dental infections in this episode of PEM Currents. And yes, those puns were intentional. I must’ve flossed my mind!

PEMBlog Briefs: Odontogenic Infections 

Sandor et al. Antimicrobial Treatment Options In the Management Of Odontogenic Infections. Journal of the Canadian Dental Association, 1998.

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By bradsobo

Brad Sobolewski, MD, MEd is a Professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and an Associate Director for the Pediatric Residency Training Program at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. He is on Twitter @PEMTweets and authors the Pediatric Emergency Medicine site PEMBlog and produces and hosts the PEM Currents: The Pediatric Emergency Medicine Podcast.

3 replies on “Dental Infections”

Don’t drain an oral dental abscess? That is not my practice. I have yet to not drain an abscess that is present and causing symptoms. Do you have any evidence to support the role of not draining a dental abscess?

I think in kids the issue is a little more challenging – it is more common for kids to present with ill defined cellulitis versus a clear abscess. I am not necessarily advocating for never draining an abscess via needle aspiration – just be cautious. There is not great evidence in children unfortunately. The other key is that draining it is not “curative” like it (sort of) is on the skin, since there is almost always deeper periodontal disease that necessitates interventions on the root eventually.

I agree that draining the abscess is not curative in a dental infection as it can be in a skin infection scenario. I also agree that dental abscesses are not the Colin presentation in kids with infections – I do see that more in my adult practice. I like your antibiotic recommendations. I did that dentists won’t touch these kids until their infection has cleared up, so I do recommend they see a dentist right away for an uncomplicated dental infection.

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