Spread to the lip
An abscess under the tongue can spread and reach the lip. Bacterial inflammation of the lip can be dangerous, as this is where the so-called “Danger Triangle” is located, which extends from the lip to the nose. Within this area the venous outflow of blood takes place via veins that lead directly to the brain. If bacteria from the inflamed tissue enter the blood circulation of the lip, life-threatening complications such as a brain abscess can occur. Brain abscesses cause irreversible death of brain tissue and nerve cells, which can lead to paralysis, sensory disturbances and loss of senses.
Spread to the cheek
In the course of an abscess under the tongue, the inflammation can spread in the oral cavity and destroy the tissue up to the cheek. The cheek on the affected side swells strongly and is reddened. Patients with a so-called abscess cheek have to visit a doctor as quickly as possible to open the abscess surgically and remove the infected tissue completely. Detailed information can also be found here: Inflammation of the cheek
An abscess under the tongue can cause serious complications, so a doctor should be consulted immediately at the first signs. The quicker treatment is carried out, the quicker healing occurs. An abscess is caused by bacteria that can be treated with antibiotics.
However, because an abscess is an encapsulated inflammation, the medication usually does not penetrate deep enough into the source of infection to kill the bacteria. Therefore, in most cases, medication is not sufficient to treat an abscess under the tongue. Normally, an abscess under the tongue must be surgically removed.
The surgical procedure is carried out through a large incision in the oral cavity, more rarely an additional incision is made from the outside. During the operation, the doctor removes the inflamed tissue and possibly lays a drainage through which the accumulated pus can drain away. Usually the wound is not sutured, but heals open. This prevents a new infection from developing and the pathogens from encapsulating themselves within an abscess under the tongue. Following the operation, a high-dose antibiotic therapy is administered over several days to accelerate the healing process and reduce the risk of relapse.
Duration of an abscess under the tongue
The duration of an abscess under the tongue depends on how quickly a diagnosis is made and the appropriate treatment is given. Large abscesses that have spread deep into the tissue need more time to heal than smaller, less serious inflammations. An abscess rarely heals on its own and usually has to be surgically removed. After surgery in combination with drug treatment, an abscess under the tongue usually heals without any problems within a few days (6-14 days).