Facial pain is a pain that can be felt in any part of the face, including the mouth, ears, and eyes. Usually, it’s normal to experience face pain due to an injury or a headache but sometimes face pain can be the result of a serious health issue.
The intensity of the facial pain can be dull, strong, short-lived or chronic and can be felt on one or both sides of your face. The particular type of pain you feel will depend on the cause.
Dull, throbbing pain on one or both side of your face around your mouth is generally due to problems related to teeth, such as a toothache, dental caries, or abscess.
Contact your dentist, if you experience this type of pain. Pain related to sinusitis can be felt on the cheekbone and under the eye. Location of where the pain is felt tells a lot about what is causing it.
Cause of face pain
Following are given various problems that are causing face pain.
Dry socket is a condition experienced three to four days after an adult tooth (mostly wisdom tooth) is removed. Dry sockets can be extremely painful and can be accompanied by bad breath.
Dry clot occurs due to dislodged or dissolved blood clot that forms in the socket after a tooth is removed and before the wound heals, exposing the underlying bone and nerves.
The symptoms for the dry socket are similar to that of an abscess including intense pain, swelling, bad taste, bad breath, and fever. (1)
A headache is a widespread condition that can cause pain and discomfort in the head, scalp, or neck region. The common primary cause of a headache includes a migraine, cluster, and tension headaches.
You may experience a headache due to an underlying medical issue. The pain due to a headache is often focused around the eye area, whereas migraines may also induce pain in the area of teeth and jaw.
Over-the-counter painkillers will help you deal with a headache but don’t forget to visit a dentist.
People with dental abscess experience pain in the affected area while biting or when touching the affected area. The underlying pain associated with the abscess is very intense and unbearable. (2)
A dental abscess typically occurs due to a bacterial infection. When bacteria reach the blood vessels and nerves present in pulp, generally due to gum disease or severe tooth decay or cracked tooth.
The symptoms of a dental abscess include throbbing pain, bad breath, facial swelling, red gums, fever, and bad taste in your mouth.
A dental abscess is a serious condition, and can also lead to other serious health problems, so doesn’t wait to see your dentist.
Temporomandibular Joint disorders
The temporomandibular joint or TMJ acts like a hinge allowing the jaw to open and close. Dysfunction of TMJ can lead to facial pain, discomfort, difficulty chewing and clicking and locking of the jaw joint.
Standard treatments for temporomandibular joint disorders include medication, bite guards and physiotherapy. Check with your dentist if you notice clicking or popping sound while chewing or pain in your joint area. (3)
Sinusitis also known as sinus infections, occur due to infection in the sinus cavity and can cause extensive facial pain, including pain in the upper jaw and teeth.
Symptoms of sinusitis also include facial swelling and pressure around your cheeks and eyes, ear pain, bad breath, nose block, and fever.
Cold and sinus medications can provide you some relief, but don’t forget to check with your doctor if your symptoms persist. (4)
Herpes zoster also known as shingles causes a painful rash that may appear as a stripe of blisters localized in an area. Anyone who had chickenpox as a child may develop shingles later in life.
When the virus gets reactivated, it usually causes intense pain on one side of your body, headache, joint pain, and fever with chills, along with a blistering rash.
Shingles can also affect your facial nerves, causing droopy eyelids, stiff facial muscles, hearing loss, and taste or vision dysfunction. (5)
Treatments include pain relief, antiviral and strong anti-inflammatory medications. A chickenpox vaccine in childhood or a shingles vaccine as an adult can help to minimize the risk of developing shingles in future.
The trigeminal nerve carries signals from the face to the brain. Trigeminal neuralgia occurs when a blood vessel presses on the trigeminal nerve.
Symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia can range from mild to severe facial pain, often stimulated by chewing, biting, speaking, brushing the teeth or even by touching your face.
Trigeminal Neuralgia can be managed with medication, injections, and surgery. (6)
Facial pain is a common complaint in conditions such as a dental abscess, Trigeminal Neuralgia or sinusitis. Facial pain generally goes away once the situation has been diagnosed and a treatment plan is in action.
Your doctor will conclude treatment options for your facial pain based on the particular cause.