Should You Worry about Bell’s Palsy after Dental Treatment?
As an attempt to improve awareness of the condition, a BBC reporter who contracted Bell’s Palsy continued to broadcast reports from China despite the paralysis of one side of his face, which caused him to have some odd facial expressions and affected his annunciation.
There has been some reports that this condition may be caused by dental treatment, but the association is very rare, and should not cause anyone to hesitate in getting dental treatment.
What Is Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s palsy is facial paralysis that affects one side of the face. Sufferers lose the ability to move many of the muscles on one side of their face, as well as the ability to feel that side of their face.
The primary concerns associated with Bell’s palsy are social, because of the unusual appearance people present when only able to move one side of their face. There is also concern that the eye may be damaged because the inability to blink causes it to dry out. Some also express concern that dental care may be affected because you may be unaware that you are experiencing pain in your mouth on that side.
What Causes Bell’s Palsy?
The leading theory is that Bell’s palsy is usually caused by a viral infection which attacks the nerve, causing it to swell, which leads to constriction of the nerve in its narrow passage, preventing the transmission of signals. It’s believed that the common cold virus may be responsible for most of these infections, which are triggered by stress.
Bell’s palsy is typically temporary, lasting a few months or over a year. With treatment, typically steroid injection, the length of the condition may be reduced.
How Dental Work Could Be Related to Bell’s Palsy
There have been some reported cases of Bell’s palsy associated with dental care. Individual cases have been reported associated with dental anesthesia, complicated tooth extraction, and infection after tooth extraction. These are considered to be very rare.
Concerns about Bell’s palsy should not prevent you from getting dental work, either desired cosmetic dentistry procedures or required ones such as a root canal.