The Mystery Behind Unexplained Pain and Swelling in Your Mouth

man with glasses smiling and rubbing chinThe human body is an extremely complex system of countless nerves, various tissues, and individual organs that need to work in unison to function properly. Your mouth is one of the finest examples of this natural wonder with the hard tissue—like the teeth and jaw—performing diligently alongside the soft tissue—like the gums, salivary glands, and tongue—to ensure important activities like speech, chewing, and conveying emotions can occur. 

But with so many moving parts, it seems obvious that a problem can crop up. For many of us, this happens in the form of sudden swelling or unexplained discomfort inside your mouth. 

It’s possible to experience this pain or swelling with no clear cause. You may have simply woken up and noticed one of your cheeks was puffy from swelling, or just went on your lunch break only to discover a sudden pain in your mouth made it a miserable experience. 

Well, just as your mouth is a complex system, dental healthcare professionals have equally complex means to identify these sudden cases of swelling and pain, from the mundane to the rather unusual. So, let’s dive into what may be behind the cause of sudden swellings, puffy cheeks, dental discomfort, or pain. 

Dental Trauma

For many of us, when we hear the word “trauma”, this often conjures up vivid mental images of life-threatening injuries or damage that will require the talents of a surgeon to fix. This isn’t necessarily the cause; trauma simply describes any physical damage. When it comes to your dental health, this can be something as simple as biting the inside of your cheek or an accidental knock against your jaw or tooth. 

Even if you suffer such a minor physical injury against the inside of your mouth or your face that it doesn’t initially leave any recognizable signs such as bruising, your body may still be responding. As your mouth has so much specialized soft tissue like your gums, swelling (and often pain associated with it) become much more noticeable. 

Dental Abscesses

An abscess may not qualify the most “sudden” as some of the other causes for mouth swelling and pain, but it can certainly be considered one of the most dangerous health causes. The underlying cause for a tooth abscess is a bacterial infection, and depending on which type of bacteria has created the abscess, the danger it poses ranges from tooth loss to life-threatening infection. 

The abscess itself is a pocket or bubble-like lump, often around an infected tooth. It can cause severe pain around the tooth that can even be felt around the throat, jaw, sinuses, or sometimes even the ear. In some cases, swelling can also affect these areas, making them sore and tender to the touch. 

The Oral Mucosa

Now, we’ve talked quite about the soft tissue of the mouth including the gums, tongue, and cheeks, but when it comes to swelling and pain inside the mouth, there’s still a few things you need to know. Like one of the most regenerative and resistant parts of our body: the oral mucosa. 

This is the soft tissue lining the inside of our mouths and it is both tough and sensitive, which plays a large part in allowing us to enjoy such a variety of foods and drinks served at a wide variety of temperatures and textures. However, while impressive, the oral mucosa’s natural resilience and regenerative properties can be disrupted, which may lead to swelling or pain in unusual parts of your mouth. 

This is a list of risk factors that can lead to compromising your oral mucosa:

  • Radiation therapy (especially to the neck or head).
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Excessive alcohol use.
  • A very poor-quality, low-protein diet
  • Not getting enough water in your diet.
  • Cigarettes.
  • Chewing tobacco.
  • Vaping. 
  • Spicy foods.
  • Very hot beverages.
  • Poor daily vitamin regimen. 
  • Hot foods. 
  • Certain prescription medications.

If you believe that your medications or doctor-prescribed diet may be leading you to have any dental discomfort, schedule an appointment with your oral care professional as soon as possible. There are a wonderful range of treatment options available so you can enjoy your finest and healthiest smile in comfort. 

Never Let Dental Discomfort Disrupt Your Life. Contact Us if You Notice Any Swelling or Pain

Contact us today if you notice any swelling or pain! While some sudden swelling or oral pain might be unexplained, the team at Hill & Schneidmiller DDS will use their diagnostic skills to create fantastic treatment plans and take care of your individual needs. 

Don’t let a day go by with unsightly swelling or miserable toothaches disrupting work, social events, or any other plans! Contact us right away and get back to feeling your finest. 

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