Dental Distension: What Caused My Aching Face?

May 28, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — crsmile @ 6:36 pm
Woman with dark hair holding her jaw in pain in front of a grey background

If you’ve suddenly developed an ache or puffiness in your face, it’s natural to wonder where to go for help. Is it a dental issue requiring a same-day emergency appointment, or is it a medical issue that necessitates a visit to the nearest ER?

There are many potential causes for the throbbing you’ve noticed. Because it could be an oral issue, it’s probably best to contact your dentist first. They have the special training and instruments necessary to quickly identify the root cause and make an appropriate treatment plan.

Continue reading to learn about 3 reasons that your face has swollen up and how your dentist might help!

Cause #1: Dental Abscess

If you have an overly decayed or damaged tooth or progressing gum disease, then harmful bacteria can penetrate the tender roots of your teeth. This can cause an infection in the soft pulp inside. A pocket of fluid can form in your jawbone, which causes persistent throbbing, inflamed gums, a foul taste in your mouth, and fever. You’ll likely notice puffy cheeks around the affected area until the issue is resolved.

Oral problems don’t take care of themselves, so it’s important to see your dentist as soon as you notice any symptoms. That way, they can perform a root canal or other repair as needed to protect your pearly whites and restore their functionality before they require extraction.

Cause #2: Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)

Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the sockets that connect your jawbone to your skull just below your ears. If you suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding) or have a bite misalignment, you could end up putting added pressure on these discs that can irritate and inflate them. Your jaw could become stiff or locked in addition to having a sore face, neck, and head.

Fortunately, your dentist can help in several ways. Sometimes, an oral appliance like an occlusal splint allows your jaw to relax enough to mend itself. Other instances require an occlusal adjustment that involves reshaping your teeth so they come together correctly. Whatever the reason for your TMD, your dentist can identify it and help assuage your inflated visage.

Cause #3: Dry Socket

It’s normal to experience some discomfort after having a tooth extracted. You’ll likely experience some swelling and aches for a few days, but this typically starts to fade until it dissipates entirely. A blood clot will form over the extraction site that shields the tender nerves underneath from bacteria in your mouth. Sometimes, however, this clot is dislodged, and you can develop a painful complication known as a dry socket.

Your dentist can examine your mouth to ensure that you’re healing properly and might recommend a numbing gel to alleviate the symptoms until the blood clot can reform. Once you’ve recovered fully, any remaining tenderness should abate.

If you go to the dentist for facial aches and they determine that they aren’t the best person for the job, they’ll be sure to refer you to an appropriate doctor to assist you!

About the Practice

Patients at Coombs, Ross & Sourlis Family Dentistry of Rock Hill benefit from multiple dentists who work together to create fully individualized treatment plans to meet your unique needs. They have years of experience handling everything from preventative care to more complex procedures like extractions and TMJ therapies under one roof. If you’re suffering from facial pain, they offer same-day emergency appointments, so you don’t have to wait for relief. You can request one on the website or by calling (803) 592-6201.

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