THE COST OF PUTTING OFF TREATMENT FOR ORAL/FACIAL INFECTIONS
Oral Infections Should Not Be Ignored
Patients with significant oral, dental, or facial infections typically present to their dentist early on in the process. They get antibiotics, and are treated or referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for care, which may include drainage of the infection and sometimes definitive care such as removal of an associated abscessed tooth. This staging of care is appropriate and cost effective. In my years of practice I have never seen a case that we treated that required hospitalization. Conversely, we do see quite a few patients who report to the hospital emergency room after allowing an oral or facial infection to become advanced.
Family History of Negligence
They typically have a history of having been on an antibiotic off and on several times and not following through with care. They are typically admitted and then we care for them at the hospital facility. The most common scenario I see is when it is perceived by the patient that the hospital will “treat them for free” or that “insurance will cover it better” at the hospital. Neither idea is true and the fact of the matter is, that the cost for this care is not just in dollars.
Severe Infection Can Be Prevented
Very often when infections get more serious, they can spread and cause damage to adjacent tissues. We do even see cases where people die because of the spread of the infection to the brain or to the chest.
When an oral problem spreads to become a facial infection, appropriate surgical drainage and treatment should be provided to avoid more serious problems and conditions.
If you suspect oral infection, call (262) 634-4646 to schedule an appointment.
J Oral Maxillofac Surg 71:656-658, 2013
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