Common medical questions and answers through blogs and articles

What Causes Facial Swelling?

Swelling that occurs in the face can be a difficult thing to deal with, especially since the face isn’t an area of the body that can be easily hidden. Facial swelling, also referred to by healthcare providers as facial edema, can occur in any of the areas of the face, including the eyes, cheeks, mouth, nose, jaw, and lips. Facial swelling can cause both physical and psychological pain, and the causes are numerous. Some of the most common causes of swelling of the face include tooth or other mouth infections and traumatic injury. Here’s more information from dental offices regarding more common causes of facial swelling and their symptoms.

There are many instances when swelling of the face can occur due to infection. Various infections can lead to facial swelling, and these can be either viral or bacterial. Some of these include mumps, which can cause swelling of the face and/or neck; styes, which can cause swelling of the eyes; and dental abscesses, which can cause swelling in the mouth, jaw, and surrounding facial areas. Pregnancy and obesity can also cause facial swelling, but of these causes of swelling of the face, dental abscess is perhaps the most prevalent source of facial swelling, simply because so much can go wrong with use of the mouth and teeth, especially due to biting and chewing. When an infection develops in a tooth, the face or area of the face can swell, sometimes up to several times its normal size. Dental abscesses can lead to lymph node enlargement and, if left untreated, they can even lead to death. For this reason, dental abscesses should always be addressed by your dentist or other healthcare provider immediately. The most common cause of dental abscesses is poor oral hygiene, which is often combined with poor diet that includes processed, sticky, and/or sugary foods. Poor dental habits often also include a lack of regular dental checkups, especially since your dentist can notice changes occurring within your mouth, sometimes even before you can see or feel them. Dental abscesses lead to accumulation of pus at the infection site, which needs to be drained properly by a dentist or oral surgeon.

Treatment for dental abscesses should include drainage by a dental professional. Do not attempt to drain a dental abscess yourself, as improper drainage can worsen the infection and can even lead to death, often by airway obstruction. A dental abscess can be a very serious event and should never be taken lightly. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of a dental infection/abscess, contact your dentist right away to have the abscess properly drained. Your dentist likely will prescribe medications in order to calm any pain you may be experiencing, as well as to stop the inflammation that is occurring and causing your face to swell. Some over the counter medications may be sufficient to quiet the pain you may be experiencing from a dental abscess. However, in some cases, prescription medications may be in order, especially if the pain is accompanied by swelling of any of the areas of the face. If you’re still experiencing pain after over the counter medications have been recommended, talk to your dentist about other medications that may also help the swelling to go down.

Another of the most common causes of facial swelling is injury to any of the areas of the face, particularly when that occurrence is a traumatic injury. Among the most prevalent of these are car accidents and sports injuries. When a patient suffers a traumatic injury to the face due to a car accident or injury while playing sports, medical conditions such as misaligned jaw and even dental infection or abscess can occur. In these instances, it is necessary for the patient to seek treatment from dentist, oral surgeon, or other healthcare provider, as any infection that occurs must be contained and eliminated. In cases where patients must go to a hospital or emergency department immediately following the injury, referral to a dentist or oral surgeon may be necessary in order to drain abscesses and medically treat mouth and other facial infections.

If you’re experiencing facial swelling, you should see your healthcare provider immediately, as some of the causes can lead to serious complications. If you don’t have a regular dentist, contact a dental office in your area to schedule a consultation.

Leave a comment