Morbidity and cost of odontogenic infections

Lindsay Eisler, Kaitlin Wearda, Kelsey Romatoski, Rick M. Odland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective. Cost analysis of deep neck space infections from odontogenic origin and review of the morbidity of potentially preventable complications. Study Design. Case series with chart review. Setting. Level 1 trauma center and academic safety net hospital. Subjects and Methods. Patients treated for deep neck space infections due to an odontogenic source between 2001 and 2010 were reviewed. Two hundred patients were included in the study. Ninety-eight patients required inpatient admission. Twelve percent of these patients had difficult airways, and 16% had at least 1 day in the intensive care unit. Cost data were available only for the later 3.5 years of the study period. Results. The overall cost of treatment for these 71 individuals exceeded $1.1 million. Conclusion. The cost of treatment for odontogenic infections is staggering. Based on assumptions of the percentage of infections in the metropolitan area captured at Hennepin County Medical Center, extrapolation to the total national cost of inpatient care approaches $200 million annually. This study highlights the importance of access to medical and preventative dental care for the general population and demonstrates the cost benefit that could be achieved through prevention of disease and, therefore, avoidance of its complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-88
Number of pages5
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding source: This project was funded by the Department of Otolaryngology, Hennepin County Medical Center (Minneapolis, Minnesota). This includes all financial and material support pertaining to design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; and preparation, review, and approval of the manuscript.


  • Deep neck infections
  • Dental infections
  • Health care costs


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