Prevalence of odontogenic deep neck space infections (DNSI): a retrospective analysis of 76 cases of DNSI


  • Gaurav Kataria Department of ENT & HNS, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
  • Aditi Saxena
  • Sanjeev Bhagat
  • Baldev Singh
  • Isha Goyal
  • Saurabh Vijayvergia
  • Parul Sachdeva



Deep neck space infection, incision and drainage, Ludwig’s angina, Odontogenic infections, Submandibular abscess, Tonsillar and pharyngeal infections


Background: Deep Neck Space Infections (DNSI) are serious diseases that involve several spaces of neck. Commonest sources of DNSI are dental and oropharyngeal infections. With widespread use of antibiotics, the prevalence of DNSI has been reduced but odontogenic DNSI are still common due to poor oral hygiene. Management mainly comprises of airway management, antibiotic therapy and surgical intervention. This study was conducted to find out the prevalence, distribution, presentation, sites involved, bacteriology and management of odontogenic DNSI.

Methods: This retrospective study was done from October 2010 to January 2013 and included 76 patients with DNSI. Then, etiological factors of DNSI were studied and prevalence of odontogenic DNSI was calculated. All parameters including age, sex, co-morbidities, presentation, site, bacteriology and interventions required in odontogenic DNSI cases were studied.

Results: Odontogenic infections were the most common etiological factor in DNSI, with a prevalence of 34.21% among DNSI. Toothace was commonest symptom, followed by neck swelling, pain and odynophagia. Submandibular space involvement (42.30%) was the most common clinical presentation of odontogenic DNSI patients, followed by Ludwig’s angina and masticator abscess.

Conclusions: DNSI are common and life threatening infections. For management, early diagnosis is essential. In developing countries majority of DNSI are of odontogenic origin. In our country lack of adequate nutrition, poor orodental hygiene, tobacco and beetle nut chewing and smoking has increased the prevalence of odontogenic DNSI. So, prevention of odontogenic DNSI can be achieved by making population aware of oral and dental hygiene and by conducting regular check-up camps at community level.


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Original Research Articles