It’s three AM, and you wake up from a deep sleep because pain is shooting through your face and head. You turn on the light in the bathroom and see that your cheek has swollen to three times its size. What should you do? Facial swelling can be a concerning and uncomfortable experience, but is it always a reason to rush to an emergency dentist?
In the above case, the answer is yes, but it may not always be cause for alarm. If you want to learn the most common causes of facial swelling, and when it might indicate an emergency, continue reading.
Why Did My Face Swell Up?
There are several potential culprits when it comes to facial swelling. Not all of them are cause for immediate alarm, but in most cases, you should err on the side of caution and seek professional help immediately.
Salivary Gland Infection
If your cheek or the area under your tongue is swelling and it’s accompanied by severe pain, it may be an infected salivary gland. These are the organs that produce saliva that helps fight bacteria in your mouth. When they become infected, they begin to produce fluid that builds up in the cheek.
When you encounter an allergen, it triggers an inflammatory reaction in your body. Histamines cause your immune system to try to quickly get rid of every trace of whatever you came into contact with.
While a simple swollen reaction may not be cause for alarm, if you also begin to become short of breath, have trouble swallowing, or feel feverish, it’s time to treat it as an emergency as you enter a state of asphyxia.
Your teeth have layers. At the center of each tooth is a pulp chamber where your blood vessels and nerve endings are. When tooth decay reaches the pulp chamber, it can cause a severe infection that spreads through the roots of the tooth and into the bone.
Soon, this forms an abscess that fills with bacterial pus and causes your face to swell. This is almost always accompanied by severe pain and a bad taste in your mouth.
When Should I See the Dentist?
Any time you experience pain and swelling when you suspect the cause to be the state of your teeth or gums, you should go to your dentist. If the cause turns out to be an allergic reaction or a sinus infection, they may refer you to another medical professional.
So, while facial swelling may not always be cause for alarm, it’s never a good sign of a healthy oral ecosystem. Whether it’s foreign contaminants or bacteria left to sit in your mouth due to poor oral hygiene, when your face swells, it’s time to seek help.
If you suspect you may have a condition your dentist can treat, call them and give them details of your symptoms. If they can’t give you answers over the phone, at least you can schedule an emergency dental appointment.
About the Practice
At Mazzawi Dental Intown, you’re not just a number. The team of trained professional dentists and their support staff really try to get to know you. They understand that dental treatment can be difficult, and they offer a welcoming environment to put your mind at ease. With customized treatment plans and the latest dental technology, you’ll always get the right care. To schedule an emergency dental appointment, call (404) 816-8725 or visit the website to explore other services.