Bone infection breaking through to skin
Osteomyelitis is an acute or chronic bone infection, usually caused by bacteria.
Spread of the infection can be from an abscess, tooth extraction or directly from cellulitis.
It is more commonly seen in the mandible (lower jaw) than in the maxilla (upper jaw).
What to look for
- Deep pain in the jaw bone
- Local firm swelling of jaw, redness, heat (on placing your finger over affected area)
- General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (malaise)
- Drainage of pus through the skin (in chronic osteomyelitis)
- Numbness of the lower lip when mandible affected
- Trismus – inability to open the jaw/mouth
Drainage of abscess.
Referral to the hospital for IV intravenous antibiotic therapy and further management
For chronic infections, surgical removal of dead bone tissue is usually required.
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