In today’s article, I decided to cover some common causes of
eye swelling after dental work. An untreated infection of a
dental abscess may cause swelling and pain around your eyes and the whole
face. Severe dental infections may affect the other parts of the body
through some medical conditions such as bacterial meningitis and infective


Eye Swelling after Dental Work

Intraocular anesthetics are usually used for
painless dental treatments but some unlucky people may experience
some ocular complications such as meiosis, diplopia, nystagmus,
ophthalmoplegia, ptosis, and amaurosis. Most symptoms related to eyes
disappear after 48 hours but in rare cases, they have
prolonged characteristics
and may persist for several days.
Periorbital oedema and subcutaneous emphysema may develop as
uncommon complications after dental work. Symptoms may be revealed
hours after the procedure when the patient is at home hence the patient may
present to a family doctor.
In some cases, people may experience swelling around the face, mouth,
cheeks, and even their eyes if your dentist has to do more work on
soft tissues in the mouth the chances of swelling and
trauma increase.

Periorbital oedema from Dental Procedure

A patient may experience swelling of both eyelids by undergoing extraction
of impacted lower and upper molars after some hours.
If this procedure is done under local anesthesia and your dentist uses a
handheld, high-speed, compressed-air surgical drill to remove the tooth.
During the procedure, you may experience an abnormal sensation such
as a bubble moving up on the face or ears.
Periorbital oedema and facial swelling may extend inferiorly to the
angle of the jaw and superiorly to the temporal and forehead
The periorbital skin revealed erythematous and this painless
hemifacial swelling had underlying crepitus. Despite the
swelling, the extraocular movements, and visual acuity remains
normal. An intact suture and a blood clot may be revealed at the area of
extraction from the inspection of the oral cavity.

Subcutaneous Emphysema from Dental Procedure

Subcutaneous emphysema can occur as a result of a dental procedure.
Subcutaneous emphysema means the collection of air beneath the
subcutaneous tissue. It is commonly seen in facial bone fractures,
infection by gas-producing organisms, tracheostomies, and anterior neck
Subcutaneous emphysema is rare but a popular complication of dental
procedures especially the extraction of the third molar. It occurs due to
the use of high-speed surgical drills or compressed-air syringes or
air-driven surgical instruments.
It has been observed by clinical experiments that the use of these pieces
of equipment can push compressed air into the space between tissue
especially if there is a break in the mucosa.
This probably becomes a cause of an unusual sensation during the procedure
to the patient.

Differential Diagnoses

Differential Diagnoses of hemifacial swelling from periorbital
oedema include:
  • An allergic reaction spreads by either the local anesthesia or
    latex in the dentist’s gloves.
  • Angioedema
  • Facial Haematoma
  • Cellulitis
  • Surgical emphysema is secondary to a fracture of the facial
When pressure is applied to the area the first 4 differentials do not
produce the classical crackling sounds or crepitus of subcutaneous

Treatment Options for Subcutaneous Emphysema

Treatment depends on the severity and extent of the subcutaneous emphysema.
Most of the cases will start resolving automatically after 2 to 3 days but
complete resolution takes 7 to 10 days.
11 prophylactic antibiotics should be given to the patient in the
case of entering oral bacteria into the air spaces directly or
Patients with neck or
mediastinal involvement
should be admitted for the observation of cardiovascular compromise or
respiratory distress.
Surgical decompression should not be done routinely because it is usually
done in dangerous spaces that are emphysema10. it is unlikely to
be effective and may even promote the spread of emphysema.
Related Topics:

Ruman Amjad

Hello, I am Dr. Ruman Amjad, an Ophthalmologist specializing in the field of eye care, particularly focused on helping individuals with swollen eyelids. I am thrilled to welcome you to, a comprehensive resource dedicated to providing accurate and reliable information on eyelid inflammation.


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