The most common cause of swelling in the oral and facial area is infection. Infection is characterized by swelling, severe pain, difficulty opening the mouth, difficulty swallowing, or fever. The primary source of most oral infections is the teeth. Whether due to tooth decay, gum disease, or a crack, inflammation can lead to an infection causing pain and swelling. The infection can further spread to different facial areas as presented with swelling. Infection can quickly worsen and spread to other areas of the face and neck.
Here is one of the most misunderstood points about managing infection: It is NOT necessary to be on antibiotics for a few days before surgery. The source of infection must be eliminated immediately. This means that a tooth causing an infection should be extracted (or have root canal treatment if appropriate) as soon as possible and not be delayed for use of antibiotics.
The key to treatment of any infection is early management. If you experience pain, swelling, drainage, or fever, contact an oral surgeon as soon as possible. Antibiotics may be administered until you are seen and fully evaluated. Delay in management can lead to the spread of infection and potential involvement of other parts of the face or neck. If severe, hospitalization may be required along with IV antibiotics and surgical drainage.
Treatment of infection requires ALL of the following:
- Immediate removal of the source (extraction or root canal as appropriate)
- Drainage if necessary
Contact an oral surgeon immediately if you have:
- Severe neck or facial swelling
- Are unable to swallow
- Experience any difficulty breathing
If you experience pain and swelling from teeth infection, you can contact Dr. Kazemi for an immediate evaluation and treatment.