Facial problems can be caused by a minor problem or a serious condition. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, or facial weakness or numbness. You may feel these symptoms in your teeth, jaw, tongue, ear, sinuses, eyes, salivary glands, blood vessels, or nerves.
Common causes of facial problems include infection, conditions that affect the skin of the face, and other diseases.
- Bacterial infections such as impetigo and cellulitis can cause facial pain and oozing blisters or sores.
- Viral infections such as shingles may affect nerves in the face or head, causing severe facial pain or eye problems (keratitis).
- An infected or blocked salivary gland or a salivary stone (sialolithiasis) may cause facial swelling or pain, especially in the parotid gland (parotitis), which is located near the ear.
- Lyme disease is an infection that is spread by the bite of ticks infected with bacteria. It may cause facial pain, headache, stiff neck, or paralysis of the facial nerves.
Other conditions and diseases
- Sinusitis causes a feeling of pressure over the facial sinuses . Sinusitis can follow a cold or may be caused by hay fever, asthma, or air pollution. It is more common in adults, but it can occur in children as an ongoing (chronic) stuffy nose.
- Dental problems, including infections, can cause facial pain and swelling in and around the jaw area. Jaw pain may be caused by a temporomandibular (TM) disorder. This condition can cause pain in the TM joint (located in front of the ear), in the ear, or above the ear.
- Headaches, such as migraines or cluster headaches, can cause severe pain around the eyes, in the temple, or over the forehead. Giant cell arteritis generally affects older adults and may cause headache and pain and may lead to blindness if not treated. For more information, see the topic Headaches.
- Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition that causes abnormal stimulation of one of the facial nerves. It causes episodes of shooting facial pain.
- Closed-angle glaucoma causes vision changes and severe, aching pain in or behind the eye.
- Conditions that cause problems with the muscles or nerves in the face include:
- Bell's palsy, which is caused by paralysis of the facial nerve. Weak and sagging muscles on one side of the face is the most common symptom. It also may cause an inability to close one eye and mild pain in the facial muscles.
- Multiple sclerosis, which may affect facial muscle control and strength, affect vision, and cause changes in feeling or sensation.
- Myasthenia gravis, which causes facial muscle weakness leading to drooping eyelids and difficulty talking, chewing, swallowing, or breathing.
- Facial paralysis from a stroke.
- Lupus causes inflammation, fatigue, and a butterfly-shaped rash across the cheeks.
Treatment depends on what is causing your facial problem. In many cases, home treatment may be all that is needed to relieve your symptoms.
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.