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Common Causes for Facial Swelling (and When to Call a Dentist)

May 13, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — dentalcentreteam @ 8:31 pm
Woman considering visit to an emergency dentist for facial swelling

If you notice your face looking puffy or swollen, it’s generally a sign that something is wrong with your oral health. However, unlike medical emergencies, it’s not always so clear when it’s considered to be a dental emergency. One thing is for sure: a swollen face is not normal in any circumstance. If you aren’t sure when (or why) you should call an emergency dentist for facial swelling, you’ll want to keep reading.

Common Causes for Facial Swelling

There are many reasons why the face can begin to swell up, but the most common ones include an infection, usually due to an abscessed tooth. Teeth can develop infections when bacteria is able to reach their inner area (also known as the pulp) and infect the nerves and blood vessels. Not only can infections like these spread to other nearby teeth, but they can even travel to other areas of the body.

Facial swelling can also appear due to:

  • Blunt force facial trauma
  • Salivary gland infection
  • Allergies to medications or certain foods

When It’s Time to Call an Emergency Dentist

When facial swelling is relatively minor or infrequent, it’s likely not considered a dental emergency and does not call for immediate attention. However, if it persists or worsens, you should call an emergency dentist. You should also call if you notice pain that does not improve after a couple days or if the pain begins to intensify. This is an indicator that something very wrong is happening inside your mouth and requires urgent attention.

Why Calling a Dentist is Typically the Best Option

Dentists are specifically trained to treat issues related to the mouth, including facial swelling. Not only can you get a proper diagnosis, but you can also begin the treatment you need to stop the emergency from getting worse and get your oral health back on track. With that said, it’s not unreasonable to assume that a visit to the emergency room would be an appropriate option.

Unfortunately, many emergency rooms are not equipped to handle dental emergencies because they don’t have a dentist onsite to diagnose you or provide treatment. As a result, they are likely to give you painkillers and antibiotics, then tell you to visit a dentist anyway. This wastes precious time, money, and does nothing to address the root cause of the emergency in the first place. The only time it would make sense to go to the emergency room first is if your jaw is fractured or dislocated, you have serious cuts or lacerations on the face or mouth, or the infection is affecting your ability to breathe due to heavy swelling.

Facial swelling can not only be very serious, but worsen without the right professional care. If you’re experiencing facial swelling, don’t wait another moment to call an emergency dentist for help!

About the Author

Dr. Jack Fan has many years of clinical experience under his belt, and that includes the treatment of dental emergencies. Not only does he have the expertise to diagnose your problem at the source, get you out of pain, and prevent the issue from coming back, but he also offers oral conscious sedation to patients feeling nervous about their appointment. To schedule an emergency visit, contact him through his website!

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