We report our use of a superficial cervical plexus block to manage three adults who presented for drainage of dental abscesses. All patients had difficult airways related to severe trismus (preoperative inter-incisor distance < or = 1.5 cm). The first two patients, whose abcesses involved both the submandibular and submasseteric spaces, were managed with combined superficial cervical plexus and auriculotemporal nerve block. In a third patient, a superficial cervical plexus block alone was sufficient because the abscess was confined to the submandibular region. The blocks were successful in all three cases with minimal requirement for supplemental analgesia. We recommend the consideration of superficial cervical plexus block, and if necessary an auriculotemporal nerve block, for the management of selected patients with difficult airways who present for drainage of dental abcesses.
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