Ludwig's angina is a potentially life-threatening, rapidly expanding, diffuse inflammation of the submandibular and sublingual spaces that occurs most often in young adults with dental infections. However, this disorder can develop in children, in whom it can cause serious airway compromise. Symptoms include severe neck pain and swelling, fever, malaise and dysphagia. Stridor suggests an impending airway crisis. Causative bacteria include many gram-negative and anaerobic organisms, streptococci and staphylococci. Initial treatment consists of high doses of penicillin G given intravenously, sometimes in combination with other drugs. Patients usually recover without complications.