Deep neck infections, life threatening infections of dental origin: Presentation and management of selected cases

Michael Pesis, Eitan Bar-Droma, Anatoliy Ilgiyaev, Navot Givol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Untreated dental caries or even dental manipulations, such as a tooth extraction, might cause direct spread of an odontogenic infection and consequently the development of life-threatening conditions such as deep neck infections (DNI). The most common source of DNI is of odontogenic origin (38.8-49%). Abscess formation or cellulitis can lead to life-threatening complications, despite new diagnostic imaging technology and widespread availability of antibiotics. Objectives: To demonstrate the dangers of DNI, which can create life-threatening situations. Methods: Five cases of DNI of odontogenic origin, which were referred to the oral and maxillofacial surgery unit, are presented. Results: Clinical manifestations included trismus, dysphagia, dysphonia, dyspnea, and infection symptoms. In all cases, computed tomography confirmed diagnosis and extent of abscess. Complications included mediastinitis, respiratory distress, osteomyelitis of the jaws, and in rare cases the mandibular condyle. Treatment included securing the airway, immediate surgical drainage, removal of the infection source, and antibiotic therapy. All patients were discharged in stable and improved condition. Conclusions: DNI treatment on an emergency basis requires proper diagnosis and effective management. To confirm diagnosis and prevent serious complications, it is essential for physicians to recognize the spaces of the head and neck that are likely to be affected by DNI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)806-811
Number of pages6
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Deep neck infection
  • Head and neck
  • Mediastenitis
  • Odontogenic
  • Osteomyelitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Deep neck infections, life threatening infections of dental origin: Presentation and management of selected cases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this