Dr John Fisher, Maxillofacial & Oral Surgeon

Facial Pain

What causes facial pain?

Pain in the face is quite often caused by dental infections, or an injury. An abscess, cyst or tumour can also cause severe pain, as can a TMJ disorder.

Which infections can cause facial pain?

Odontogenic infections occur in the teeth and the tissues surrounding them. They are most commonly caused by bacteria and can spread in a number of ways including by way of blood circulation, through tissue or the lymphatic system. The infections can be both generalised and localised, and can occur in the form of a painful dry socket or an abscess. They can also spread and cause serious conditions like cellulitis and septicemia, severe fever and swelling as well as difficulty breathing in very bad cases. Read more information on odontogenic infections.

What kinds of injuries cause facial pain?

Facial trauma often occurs as a result of car accidents, sports injuries and incidents of violence. In these types of cases, teeth can often be broken, misplaced or fractured. Facial bone fractures can occur as a simple mandible (lower jaw) fracture, but can also involve the frontal bone (forehead), orbits (eye sockets), zygomatic bones (fractured cheekbone), maxilla (top jaw) and nasal bones. Read more on trauma.

What are tumours and cysts of the face and jaws?

Tumours are lumps of tissue growth that can occur in various parts of the body. If you feel swelling in your face or jaws, a consultation with your doctor is recommended. He or she will examine the swelling with the use of scans , and in some cases, send cells to a lab for diagnosis.

A cyst is a kind of sack that is filled with fluid that forms in tissue under the skin. They can develop under the lining of the mouth, in the salivary glands, inside the jawbones and around the roots of the teeth. If cysts become infected, they can cause considerable pain, and can also cause damage to the teeth and jaws. Read more on cysts and tumours.

What are TMJ disorders?

The temporomandibular joint allows your jaw to move up and down in order to chew and talk comfortably. TMJ disorders affect this joint as well as the muscles in the face that control its movement. TMJ disorders can be caused by a number of factors, including clenching of the jaw muscles and teeth; teeth grinding; arthritis in the jaw joint and an injury to the jaw caused by a knock, fall or old injury. Read more on TMJ disorders.