Orofacial Infections in Kenya: A Retrospective Study

Kimathi Denis Mutwiri1, Elizabeth Dimba2, Bernard Mua Nzioka3

1 School of Dental Sciences, University of Nairobi

2 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Oral Pathology and Oral Medicine, School of Dental Sciences, University of Nairobi

3 Department of Periodontology /Community and Preventive Dentistry, School of Dental Sciences, University of Nairobi.

Correspondence to: Mr. Kimathi Denis Mutwiri, Email: deniskim371@gmail.com

Received: 09 January 2020; Revised: 13 May 2020; Accepted: 29 May 2020; Available online: 21 June 2020



Background: Orofacial infections are either odontogenic or non-odontogenic in nature. The clinical spectrum of these infections is diverse. This study aimed to describe the presentation and management of patients presenting with orofacial infections at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH). Materials and Methods: This was a retrospective study based on clinical records of patients treated for orofacial bacterial infections at KNH from January 2016 to December 2018. Data on the following study variables were obtained and analyzed: demographic data, clinical presentation, diagnosis, management, and treatment outcome. Results: 214 clinical records were studied. Male to female ratio was 1.4:1 with age range of 3 months to 78 years (mean=27.0 years). Swelling (96.30%, n=206) was the most common symptom, next was pain (58.90%, n=123). The most common source of infection was odontogenic (60.30%, n=129) in nature. Permanent teeth (57.00%, n=122) were more commonly involved than deciduous teeth (2.80%, n=6). In both dentitions, the mandibular posterior teeth were the most commonly involved, Ludwig’s angina (30.84%, n=66) and submandibular abscess (25.23%, n=54) were the most common clinical diagnoses of orofacial bacterial infection. The commonly used treatment modality was a triad of extraction of the associated tooth, incision and drainage, and antibiotic therapy. These management modalities resulted in favorable treatment outcomes (92.50%, n=198) in most cases. Conclusion: Orofacial infections can occur among all sociodemographic groups. These infections are potentially life-threatening if not diagnosed early and managed promptly. Multidisciplinary teams are required to manage the severe morbidity and mortality of advanced orofacial infections.


Keywords: Orofacial infections, Odontogenic, Abscess, Ludwig’s angina

Ann Afr Surg. 2021; 18(1): 45-51

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/aas.v18i1.9

Conflicts of Interest: None

Funding: None

© 2021 Author. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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