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Chronic Infection of the Jaws

What is Osteomyelitis of the Jaws?

Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone. When it affects the jaws, it can cause pain, swelling, and other symptoms. This condition requires careful management to ensure a full recovery.


Osteomyelitis of the jaws is usually caused by:

– Bacterial infection from a dental abscess or gum disease

– Dental surgery or trauma

– Compromised immune system


Common symptoms include:

– Severe pain in the jaw

– Swelling and redness

– Fever

– Difficulty opening your mouth or chewing

– Drainage of pus


At the Head & Neck Clinic we will diagnose osteomyelitis based on:

– Medical history and symptoms

– Physical examination

– Imaging tests (like X-rays, CT scans, or MRI)

– Blood tests

– Biopsy (taking a small sample of bone)


Managing osteomyelitis of the jaws involves several steps:

1. Antibiotic Therapy: 

   – You will be prescribed antibiotics to fight the infection. These may be given orally or intravenously (through an IV).

   – It’s crucial to complete the full course of antibiotics even if you start feeling better.

2. Pain Management:

   – Pain relievers will be recommended to manage discomfort. These may include over-the-counter medications or stronger prescription painkillers.

3. Surgery:

   – In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove infected bone or to drain abscesses.

   – Surgical debridement (cleaning out the infection) helps in controlling the spread of the infection.

4. Oral Care:

   – Good oral hygiene is essential. Brush and floss regularly and use an antibacterial mouthwash if recommended by your dentist.

   – Regular dental check-ups are important to monitor your condition and prevent future infections.

5. Follow-Up:

   – Follow-up visits with your healthcare provider are crucial to ensure the infection is completely resolved.

   – Imaging tests may be repeated to confirm the infection is gone.

Self-Care Tips

– Nutrition: Eat a balanced diet to support your immune system and healing.

– Hydration: Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

– Rest: Get plenty of rest to help your body fight the infection.

– Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol: These can interfere with healing and increase infection risk.

When to Seek Immediate Help

Contact us immediately if you experience:

– Worsening pain or swelling

– High fever

– Difficulty breathing or swallowing

– Persistent drainage of pus


Osteomyelitis of the jaws is a serious condition but can be effectively managed with the right treatment and care. Follow our instructions closely, maintain good oral hygiene, and attend all follow-up appointments to ensure a full recovery.

If you have any questions or concerns about your condition or treatment, do not hesitate to contact us at The London Head & Neck Clinic.

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