What Causes Facial Edema?

The face becomes swollen and puffy when fluid accumulates in the facial tissues. Facial edema, also known as facial swelling, can occur in a number of diseases and conditions 1. According to MedlinePlus, individuals should monitor their symptoms to determine the cause of facial edema in addition to other associated symptoms, such as pain, fever, breathing difficulties and red eyes. Although most common causes of facial edema do not require attention, a medical professional should be contacted if swelling continues to increase and causes severe pain 1.


Facial swelling can occur when a person inhales or ingests a substance to which he is allergic 1. Facial edema due to allergens primarily occurs around the eyes. According to the University of Illinois Medical Center, swelling from allergic substances can happen within minutes or hours after exposure 3. In addition, a person's tongue or neck may swell.

Tooth Abscess

Facial edema can occur when a tooth becomes abscessed or infected, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center 3. An abscess is usually caused by tooth decay, a chipped tooth or a bacterial infection deep within the tooth. The area around the tooth starts to swell as the infection develops. Tooth abscesses typically cause the lower section around the mouth, cheeks and jaw to swell. Other symptoms of tooth abscesses include headache, fever, breath odor and swelling in the neck.


Cellulitis is caused by a bacterial infection 4. Bacteria enters the skin through breaks, cuts, acne or open wounds in the skin, reports MayoClinic.com. This causes facial edema in addition to itchy, red and painful skin. Facial swelling associated with cellulitis appears quickly and increases rapidly, usually within 24 to 48 hours 14. Risk factors for developing cellulitis include diabetes, peripheral vascular disease and insect bites 4.


An underactive thyroid, medically known as hypothyroidism, is a condition that causes facial swelling 12. According to MayoClinic.com, the disease usually strikes women older than 50 and is the result of the body's low production of certain hormones. Symptoms usually increase over time and can include pain, fatigue, constipation, weight gain and muscle weakness.