Facial Swelling

Facial swelling is the build-up of fluid in the tissues of the face. Swelling may also affect the neck and upper arms.

If the facial swelling is mild, it may be hard to detect. To assist the health care provider in diagnosing the cause, it is important to note the following:
• Pain, and where it hurts
• How long the swelling has lasted
• What makes it better or worse
• If you have other symptoms

Some Common Causes:
• Tooth Abscess
• Allergic reaction (such as allergic rhinitis, hay fever, or a bee sting)
• Angioedema
• Blood transfusion reaction
• Cellulitis
• Conjunctivitis (inflammation of the eye)
• Drug reactions, including those due to aspirin, penicillin, sulfa, glucocorticoids, and others
• Head, nose, or jaw surgery
• Injury or trauma to the face (such as a burn)
• Malnutrition (when severe)
• Obesity
• Salivary gland disorders
• Sinusitis

Home Care
Apply cold compresses to reduce swelling from an injury. Raise the head of the bed (or use extra pillows) to help reduce facial swelling.

When to Contact a Medical or Dental Professional
You should call your health care provider if you have:
• Sudden, painful, or severe facial swelling
• Facial swelling that lasts a while, particularly if it is getting worse over time
• Difficulty breathing
• Fever, tenderness, or redness, which suggests infection

What to Expect at Your Dentist Visit
Emergency treatment is needed if facial swelling is caused by burns or if you have breathing problems.
The health care team will ask questions about your medical and personal history to determine treatment or if any medical tests are needed. Questions may include:
• How long has the facial swelling lasted?
• When did it begin?
• What makes it worse?
• What makes it better?
• Have you come into contact with something you might be allergic to?
• What medications are you taking?
• Have you recently injured your face?
• Have you had a recent medical test or surgery?
• What other symptoms do you have? For example:
• Facial pain
• Sneezing
• Difficulty breathing
• Hives or rash
• Eye redness
• Fever