Purpose To investigate the clinical characteristics of pediatric facial cellulitis of odontogenic origin and the impact of early tooth extraction on the length of hospitalization in children.
Methods Medical records of all patients with a discharge diagnosis of facial cellulitis of odontogenic origin or buccal cellulitis were reviewed. Clinical characteristics, including age, sex, symptoms of infection, location of infection, type of tooth involved, length of hospitalization, and the timing of dental interventions, were gleaned. Variables were correlated to length of hospitalization.
Results A total of 106 children (62 boys and 44 girls) were diagnosed with facial cellulitis of odontogenic origin. Early tooth extraction (within 48 h) and white blood cell count at admission were significantly associated with length of hospitalization (p = 0.007 and p=0.03, respectively). The length of hospitalization for upper face infections was significantly different than that for lower face infections (p = 0.01) and that for left face infections was significantly different than that for right face infections (p = 0.01). There was also a significant correlation between length of hospitalization and type of tooth involved (p = 0.01). Patients who had an infection of a primary first molar tooth had a shorter length of hospitalization.
Conclusion In the management of pediatric facial cellulitis of odontogenic origin, early tooth extraction may decrease the length of hospitalization. White blood cell count, site of infection, and the type of tooth involvement at admission have significant impacts on length of hospitalization.