This week, a BBC reporter is celebrating because after one year of suffering with partial facial paralysis, a condition known as Bell’s palsy, he is finally able to smile again.
What Is Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s palsy is an unusual form of paralysis in which a facial nerve is temporarily disabled, preventing a sufferer from moving any facial muscles on one side of the mouth. Although there is some concern that sufferers may not notice oral health problems on the affected side of their face, the primary concerns are the social impact of not being able to make normal facial expressions and the effects of not being able to blink on the affected eye, which can dry out and be at increased risk of infection and injury.
What Causes Bell’s Palsy?
It is believed that the cause of Bell’s Palsy is a viral infection that attacks the facial nerve. The virus is dormant in the system and may have caused an acute illness at some time in the past, but becomes active in times of stress or ill health. However, it is worth noting that in many cases no actual evidence of a virus is found and the connection is merely assumed.
How Dental Work Could Be Related to Bell’s Palsy
There has been some suggestion that dental work could contribute to the eruption of Bell’s palsy. Possible mechanisms include the use of dental anesthesia which may affect the facial nerve in question, triggering viral action, a complicated tooth extraction which increases stress on the body, and infection after a tooth extraction. It has never been reported in connection with dental implant placement.
However, the association between Bell’s palsy and dental work is minor. It should not be a factor in deciding whether to have a dental procedure, especially a needed one like a tooth extraction or root canal.
If you are in need of dental treatment, please contact Dr. James Polley in Summerlin today.