There are many parts in your head that are connected through your sinuses. As such, if you have a problem with one part in your head, you may feel the pain in other areas of your face. For example, if you have an ear infection, your ear, jaw and even teeth can begin to hurt. Or, if you have a sinus infection, your head, nose, ears and jaw can become achy. If you feel a general achiness all over your face and then wake up with a swollen cheek, you may find yourself wondering if this condition is related to a dental abscess or medical condition. And unfortunately, the treatment you need for each of these comes from either a doctor or dentist, leaving you wonder who to go to. Here are a few signs to help you make a determination as to whether you may have a dental abscess.
Where the Pain Originated
When your entire face feels achy, it can be hard to determine exactly where the pain is coming from. This can make it hard to determine why your cheek is swelling. However, if possible, think back to before your whole face ached and ask yourself if you felt any minor pain in your teeth, jaw, ear, head or nose before the swelling began. Even though it may seem minor, in hindsight, pinpointing where your pain first began can help to clue you in on what type of infection may be causing your swollen cheek.
Where the Swelling is Located
Another important factor to consider when determining why your cheek may be swollen is where the swelling is within the cheek area. If you have a dental abscess, the swelling is typically relegated to the gums and jaw region. As such, if the swelling is located in the jaw and bottom cheek area, it may be a dental abscess. Likewise, if you have an ear infection, the swelling is typically closer to the ear on the side of the face. And if you have a sinus infection that is causing the swollen cheek, the swelling extends from the nasal cavity. Paying attention to what part of the cheek is swollen can help you determine whether you are dealing with a dental abscess when you have a swollen cheek.
What Other Symptoms You Have
The last factor to consider is what other symptoms you have. If you have a runny nose, headache and runny eyes, in addition to the swollen cheek, chances are, you have a sinus infection. If your ear begins to leak fluid or becomes clogged making it hard to hear, you likely have an ear infection. If your gums become red, you have extremely bad breath, you have a bad taste in your mouth, and you experience dental pain when eating or drinking hot or cold items, you likely have a dental abscess.
If you think you may have a dental abscess, it is important to get treatment right away. The infection from a dental abscess can spread to your blood stream and cause sepsis if left untreated. An emergency dentist can take a look at your teeth and x-rays and determine if it is a dental abscess. Likewise, a doctor may be able to rule out ear infection or sinus infections, leaving you with the likelihood of a dental infection. However, both have the ability to treat with antibiotics to help fight the infection, so while it is preferable to go to the right specialist, you will get the care you need as long as you are seen by one of these professionals.