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Dr. Angelica R. Rohner
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Suite 21 Homewood, AL 35209

Facial Fiasco: 4 Potential Culprits Behind Pain and Swelling

February 12, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — drrohner @ 6:25 pm
Little boy holding his hand to his cheek in pain

It can be alarming for parents if their child’s face starts to swell. If you aren’t sure of what caused it, you might wonder who to call for help. Should you contact their doctor or is it more appropriate to call their emergency pediatric dentist? In most cases, you probably want to call their dentist first. They have the experience and technology needed to treat dental issues that can result in puffy cheeks, while an ER might not. Keep reading to learn about 4 possible causes of facial swelling to help identify the problem!

Problem #1: Tooth Abscess

Even if you have implemented a consistent at-home dental hygiene routine for your child, there’s no guarantee that they won’t develop an issue. Sometimes, bacteria can penetrate around the root of a tooth and cause an infection below the gumline. Often, this presents with an abscess, or a pocket of puss, that can cause pain and inflammation. It isn’t going to heal itself, so you’ll need to take your little one to their dentist to have it resolved. If you wait, the infection can enter their bloodstream and spread to other areas of their body resulting in sepsis, which is potentially fatal.

Their dentist can drain the abscess and mend their tooth to repair the damage.

Problem #2: Salivary Gland Infection

The glands that produce saliva are located in your child’s cheeks. If something has happened and they become infected, they’ll become inflated and uncomfortable. Some common causes behind this can include:

  • Blocked gland ducts.
  • Influenza A or other illnesses like mumps, sarcoidosis, and HIV.
  • Salivary stone.
  • Excess mucus.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Dehydration.

If your kid’s dentist determines this is causing their facial extension, they’ll likely refer them to an appropriate specialist to handle it like an ear, nose, and throat doctor.

Problem #3: Allergies

If your little one has allergies, their aching face could have been triggered by:

  • Pet dander.
  • Mold spores.
  • Dust.
  • Pollen.

They’ll probably also have other symptoms to watch out for like red, itchy, watery, or burning eyes. Your dentist will let you know if they suspect this is the culprit and will refer you to your child’s doctor.

Problem #4: Anaphylaxis

If your child has a severe allergic reaction, they could end up with anaphylaxis and show signs of:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Hives or a red, itchy, bumpy rash.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Diarrhea

If your little one is in this state, call 911 immediately. If they have an EpiPen, you should administer it right away.

Now that you know what to look for, you’ll be able to get your child the right help fast!

About the Author

Dr. Angelica R. Rohner approaches pediatric dentistry with years of experience as both a dentist and a mother herself. She graduated with her D.M.D. degree from the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry, and then received an advanced degree in Pediatric Dentistry. She’s an expert who provides a full range of dental services to still-developing smiles so no matter what your child needs, she can help. She offers same-day emergency appointments so if your kid has facial pain or swelling, they don’t have to wait for relief. You’re welcome to request an appointment on the website or by calling (205) 870-0892.

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