Phlegmon of the mouth plate. Symptoms. Treatment

The mouth plate is the area of the oral cavity below the tongue and the infectious process that occurs in this region. This bacterial infection frequently occurs as a result of a dental abscess.

Dental abscess is a bacterial infection whose main entry point is dental caries.

The pathogens advance into the deep tissues where they multiply and cause the purulent discharge that is typical of infections.

A complication of untreated dental abscesses is oral phlegmon.


The longer the presentation to the dental surgery and the institution of treatment is delayed, the more the symptomatology will include more elements and be more aggressive.

In an oral plateau phlegmon, the clinical picture includes:

  • pain: this is the most disturbing symptom for the patient. The pain is excruciating, it can be diffuse and the tenderness in the oral cavity is so strong that even slight palpation triggers the symptoms. The preferred areas for the spread of pain are the tonsils and pharynx;

  • swallowing difficulties: the tongue is involved in the physiological processes of chewing and pushing the food bowl towards the pharynx. The sore and painful sublingual area prevents effective swallowing;

  • fever: any bacterial process causes the migration of defense cells from the blood. Fever and chills occur with increased cellular activity;

  • redness: increased vascularization in areas of infection causes redness and increased temperature of the affected skin.

Causes of oral phlegmon

As a complication of dental abscesses, oral phlegmon has the same cause of onset, namely bacterial infection, the most commonly involved being streptococci and staphylococci. The invasion of these microorganisms is due to and favored by:

  • poor dental hygiene;

  • carious processes;

  • lesions of the oral mucosa;

  • recent extractions in which aseptic conditions were not respected.


Diagnosis for plank phlegmon can be made on the basis of clinical examination and confirmed by laboratory and imaging tests.

Tongue, sublingual area, pharynx, tonsils are red, swollen and painful to touch. The patient’s general condition is altered, he presents with fever and chills and in more severe cases also swallowing and breathing difficulties.

To certify inflammation of the buccal floor, MRI is the imaging option of choice.

Laboratory tests are needed to identify the type of microorganism that caused the infection.

Bacteria show sensitivity and resistance to different classes of drugs, so laboratory tests are of particular importance in the choice of treatment plan.

Treatment plan for oral phlegmon

The first goal of therapy is to ensure good breathing. If the inflammation obstructs the air passage, the doctor may resort to inserting an intubation tube through the nose or oral cavity.

Antibiotic treatment is imperative to fight infection. This is combined with surgical treatment to remove excess fluid from the floor.

Prophylaxis of oral phlegmon:

  • assuming and adopting rigorous oral hygiene;

  • keeping appointments at the dentist’s surgery so that lesions with the potential for abscesses can be detected early;

  • urgent referral to the doctor in the event of symptoms of infection.

The prognosis of complete healing and the reduction of the risk of recurrence depend largely on the patient.

A delayed appointment at the dentist’s office increases the risk of life-threatening complications.

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