Learn The Causes of Facial Pain
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Learn The Causes of Facial Pain

There are several causes of facial pain, which can be triggered by any face and head location. Facial pain is typically categorized into 4 types, which are;

Dental Pain – Problems occurring with the teeth and gums 

Nerve Pain – Problems related to the facial nerves 

TMJ Pain – Occurring within the temporomandibular joint and associated muscles 

Vascular Pain – Issues with the blood vessels and blood flow 


Several different types of headaches can induce facial pain, which include:

Ice Pick Headache – Intermittent stabbing pain that occurs in the temples, eyes and sides of the head 

Cluster Headache – A sudden burning pain around the eyes and temples that can radiate toward the back of the head 

Migraine Headache – Occurs in a specific part of the head and can be preceded by an aura that causes sensory disturbances as well as tingling on one side of the body 


Facial pain from injuries can be related to past or present injuries that cause damage to facial nerves. Facial injuries can occur from cuts, lacerations and blows. Symptoms of nerve injuries can be tingling, numbness and even paralysis in the area. 

TMJ Disorders 

The TMJ is the joint that connects the upper and lower jaw and is responsible for movement. TMJ disorder is when there is any pain or problem with the movement of the joint. Symptoms of TMJ disorders are jaw pain, jaw stiffness, difficulty with opening and closing and clicking or locking the jaw. TMJ disorder treatments include taking over-the-counter pain medication (making sure to follow the label), wearing a nightguard or jaw surgery to correct the bite in advanced cases. 

Trigeminal Neuralgia 

This is a chronic pain disorder that affects the trigeminal nerve, which is located in the face. This disorder usually affects only one side of the face in the scalp, forehead, lips, cheek or lower jaw. Several movements can cause pain to start, such as chewing, brushing the teeth, applying makeup and even wind. Causes of this nerve pain are compression or pressure on the nerve, nerve damage from injuries or a stroke or underlying medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Treatments are medications or undergoing surgery.

Dental Abscess 

A dental abscess occurs when bacteria enter the nerve and blood supply of a tooth, causing a sac of pus at the tip of the root to form. Dental abscesses are caused by large cavities, old dental fillings and tooth trauma. Symptoms of abscesses are radiating pain in the jaw, face or neck, fever, swollen gums or cheeks and a bad taste in the mouth. Treatment for abscesses depends on the abscess’s cause but usually involves taking an antibiotic, draining the abscess and a root canal treatment or extraction. 


This is an inflammation of the sinuses, which are small cavities in the face behind the nose, cheeks and forehead. Causes of sinusitis are a head cold or allergies. The congestion leads to a blockage of mucus that causes facial pressure pain, a blocked nose and a reduced sense of smell. Sinusitis often clears up on its own, but a steroid nasal spray or saltwater irrigation may be recommended if not. 


Sialadenitis is a condition in which the salivary glands in the mouth become infected. This condition typically affects the floor of the mouth or the gland in the cheek. Symptoms include pain in the area of the infected gland, fever, pus and swelling. Treatment is typically a round of antibiotics, as well as drinking plenty of water to promote salivary flow. 

  • It is important to see a doctor if you have facial pain that has been persisting or is accompanied by fever, redness, swelling or tiredness 
  • Some at-home remedies are applying a cold compress, taking over the counter pain killers (make sure to follow the label) and gargling with saltwater 

If you have any questions about the cause of facial pain, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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