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The lowdown on facial pain and how to get help

Facial pain is described as mild to severe discomfort in the mouth, jaw, face, temples, ears or behind the eyes. Sometimes you may feel severe pain which appears to be coming from your teeth. It can come and go and feel very intense. Your dentist will examine your teeth and if they are not decayed and there are no signs of infection, then you may be suffering from orofacial pain. Orofacial simply means affecting the mouth (oro-) and face (-facial). Need a local family dentist? Give my team a call at Riverstone Family Dental on 8678 3538.

What is facial pain?

Facial pain often becomes chronic (lasts longer than 3-6 months). This is because most of us wait it out and hope that it goes away with minor therapies. However, any type of chronic pain should never be downplayed or brushed aside. It can be debilitating and affect your daily activities and quality of life. Facial pain can have different presentations. In some people it may come and go, whereas in others it is constantly there. So how do you know if you suffer from facial pain?

Symptoms of facial pain

If you have at least two of these symptoms in the face or mouth, you may be suffering from orofacial pain:

  • Tingling, throbbing or burning sensations that may change location
  • Unable to sleep
  • Pain or noise in the TMJ (temporomandibular joint) in front of the ear
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain that is triggered by moving the face or jaw
  • Sore neck muscles
  • Trouble with swallowing, chewing and talking
  • Headaches
  • Heightened sensitivity to temperature, touch or pressure on the face


Causes of facial pain

  • Grinding your teeth at night
  • Cracked or decayed teeth
  • Gum disease
  • Jaw muscle pain
  • Referred pain from areas such as your sinuses
  • Nerve conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia


How to get help for facial pain

Start by taking note of your symptoms and triggers. Here are some things to jot down:

  • When does the pain start and stop?
  • What does it feel like?
  • Any triggers
  • How it went away (for example: you took painkillers)

This will be very helpful when you present to your GP or dentist. Your dentist will inspect your teeth, gums, TMJ, lymph nodes and facial muscles for any problems. Further testing may be required to check your sinuses or salivary glands.

The help you receive for facial pain will depend on what caused it. Since there are many causes, the help may differ dramatically from one person to another.

Your dentist may:

  • Suggest stress-management techniques
  • prescribe pain-relief medication
  • repair or remove decayed or broken teeth
  • treat infections in your mouth
  • recommend you eat soft foods
  • make you a night guard


I hope you found this blog helpful. If you are in pain and need a caring family dentist, then give my team at Riverstone Family Dental a call on 8678 3538.