Hesperian Health Guides

Sores on the Face

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HealthWiki > Where There Is No Dentist > Chapter 7 Part 2: Some Special Problems > Sores on the Face

Whenever you see a sore on a person’s cheek or under his chin, remember there may be a tooth or gum problem. If it is a gum problem, it may be Noma.

A bad tooth:

Ask him to open his mouth. Look for an infected tooth in the area of the sore.There may be a large cavity and the tooth may be loose.

a person with a large cavity and a draining sore on the cheek.

Or the tooth may be darker in color than the others. This is because it is dead.

The pus is draining onto the skin, so the pressure is reduced and the person does not complain of pain.

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  1. Take out the tooth.
  2. Give penicillin for 7 days.
  3. After the penicillin treatment, check the sore. If it has healed, there is no longer infection inside. The treatment is finished.

But if the sore is still open and you can squeeze out pus, you will need the help of experienced health workers who can:

  • test the pus to see if it is resistant to penicillin. The person may need to take a different antibiotic.
  • take an X-ray to see if there are dead pieces of bone which are keeping the infection alive. If there are, they must be removed.

If infected gums (and not a bad tooth) are the cause of a sore on the cheek or chin, the problem is more serious.

This page was updated:19 Feb 2018