When someone experiences facial pain, the sensation can negatively affect virtually everything he or she does. Even a slight movement of the head can be painful. The pain can begin as a slight ache but may eventually develop into a sharp, all-consuming, stabbing sensation that makes it difficult to concentrate on work or anything other than the pain.
There are many different causes of facial pain. For instance, it can be experienced by people that suffer from sinusitis. An upper respiratory tract infection or nasal injury can also cause facial pain. However, a common cause can be attributed to dental abscesses or tooth infections. Fortunately, proper oral hygiene and regularly scheduled dental examinations can arrest dental infections or abscesses before they get out of control, or can prevent them from occurring altogether.
A dental abscess occurs when the mouth, jaw, face or throat is adversely affected by a tooth infection or cavity. In some instances, these infections can be signs of underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or autoimmune disorders. Therefore, they should never be ignored. However, they can also be caused by lack of timely and proper dental care.
Facial pain can result when a bacterium from a tooth cavity begins to extend into the gum line, the throat, cheek, and the area beneath the tongue or into the facial bones or into one’s jaw. The resulting dental abscess can make gum tissue inflame and can cause uncomfortable, unrelenting pressure. As the infection worsens, pus begins to collect at the site and becomes progressively more painful until the abscess ruptures on its own or is surgically drained.
Upon rare occasion, the infection can cause swelling that threatens to block the person’s airway. This can cause difficulty breathing and can turn into a serious medical issue. It is not uncommon for the person who experiences a dental abscess to also experience general malaise that includes nausea, chills, vomiting, sweats and fever.
When facial pain is caused by some type of oral infection, a qualified dental professional can diagnose and successfully treat it by performing a root canal, pulling a tooth, or treating the infection with antibiotics. However, it is important not to wait too long before scheduling an appointment with your dentist.
Balentine, Jerry R, DO, FACEP. “Dental Abscess Overview.” eMedicineHealth, March 2014.
Face Pain. (n.d.). Harvard Medical Health Guide. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
Herpes Zoster. Symptoms. (n.d.). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. July 12, 2012.
Sinusitis: Symptoms. (n.d.). National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
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Treating Facial Pain
Experiencing facial pain due to a dental infection is an unfortunate condition that can be successfully treated by a dentist. In many cases, the condition can be prevented altogether by proper oral hygiene and by scheduling regular dental check-ups. Therefore, anyone that has not seen his or her dentist in the last six months should schedule an appointment as soon as possible. If you are experiencing any facial or jaw pain, contact your dentist immediately.