Ludwig’s Angina

Ludwig’s Angina is a true emergency. It is caused by severe dental infection in the oral cavity and is left untreated long enough that it has spread to the surrounding areas and forms a large cellulitis in the sublingual region. The condition can be so serious that the patient’s airway is compromised and needs to be immediately admitted to the hospital for IV administration of antibiotics.

Prevention: treat dental infections early to avoid any complications.

Symptoms of Ludwig’s Angina

Ludwig’s angina often follows a tooth infection or other infection or injury in the mouth. Symptoms include:

  • pain or tenderness in the floor of your mouth, underneath your tongue
  • difficulty swallowing
  • drooling
  • problems with speech
  • neck pain
  • swelling of the neck
  • redness on the neck
  • weakness, fatigue
  • earache
  • swollen tongue pushing against your palate
  • fever, chills
  • confusion

Treatment for Ludwig’s Angina

If swelling is interfering with breathing, the first goal of treatment will be to clear your airway. Your physician may insert a breathing tube through your nose or mouth and into your lungs. In some cases, an opening can be created through the neck into your windpipe. This procedure is called a tracheotomy, and is performed in emergency situations.

Surgery is sometimes necessary to drain excess fluids that are causing swelling in the oral cavity.

Oral or intravenous antibiotics will be required to fight the infection. Any additional dental infections must also be addressed.