Classification of orofacial soft tissue space infections
Infections can be classified based not only on the type of organisms, it can also be
Based on the site/space involved
- Spaces related to the mandible include
- Sublingual and
- Submental spaces
- Sub- , intra- and supramasseteric,
- Lateral pharyngeal and
- Infratemporal spaces.
- Bilateral submandibular, sublingual and submental spaces are involved in Ludwig’s angina. The incidence of Ludwig’s angina has declined over the years with the advent of antibiotics1 and only 5 cases were recorded in the study of Akinbami 2010.
- Spaces related to the maxilla
- Soft tissue space infections related to the maxilla and middle third of the face include Canine fossa abscess, and Buccal space infections
- Infection can be localized in a single space and can also spread to involve multiple spaces.
Based on the pattern/direction
- Below or above the floor of the mouth
- Below or above the palate
Based on the extent of spread
- Dentoalveolar tissues e.g. periapical, periodontium, alveolar bone, in rare cases to the basal bone (osteomyelitis)
- Soft tissue space around the jaws
- Space beyond the jaws e.g. neck, orbit, brain/skull,
- Distant sites; chest/pleura space, heart-endocardium, myocardium and pericardium, diaphragm, vertebra , abdomen and pelvis.
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