Face pain may be dull and throbbing or an intense, stabbing discomfort in the face or forehead. It can occur on one or both sides. Facial pain is pain felt in any part of the face, including the mouth and eyes. Although it’s normally due to an injury or a headache, facial pain may also be the result of a serious medical condition. Most causes of facial pain are harmless.
What causes facial pain?
Facial pain can be due to anything from an infection to nerve damage in the face. Common causes for facial pain include:
• an oral infection
• an ulcer, or open sore
• an abscess, such as a collection of pus under the surface tissue in the mouth
• a skin abscess, which is a collection of pus under the skin
• a headache
• a facial injury
• a toothache
• herpes zoster, or shingles
• a migraine
• a sinus infection
• a nerve disorder
Facial pain generally goes away once a diagnosis and treatment plan is in effect. Pain caused by an infection such as sinusitis generally clears up after using antibiotics or allowing the infection to heal on its own.
Facial pain caused by a viral infection may be associated with a rash. In some cases, the pain goes away without treatment within a few days to a few weeks. In other cases, nerve pain may persist for multiple months. Prescription antiviral medications may shorten the duration of the rash.
If the facial pain is due to an oral condition, your dentist can treat it by prescribing antibiotics, pulling your tooth, or performing a root canal.
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication can treat facial pain caused by cluster headaches or migraine headaches. However, sometimes facial pain caused by headaches doesn’t respond to OTC medications. Your doctor may prescribe a stronger medication for pain relief if this is the case.