Because the facial nerve has so many functions and is so complex, damage to the nerve or a disruption in its function can lead to many problems. Symptoms of Bell's palsy, which vary from person to person and range in severity from mild weakness to total paralysis, may include twitching, weakness, or paralysis on one or both sides of the face, drooping of the eyelid and corner of the mouth, drooling, dryness of the eye or mouth, impairment of taste, and excessive tearing in one eye. Most often these symptoms, which usually begin suddenly and reach their peak within 48 hours, lead to significant facial distortion.
Other symptoms may include pain or discomfort around the jaw and behind the ear, ringing in one or both ears, headache, loss of taste, hypersensitivity to sound on the affected side, impaired speech, dizziness, and difficulty eating or drinking.
Bell's palsy occurs when the nerve that controls the facial muscles, the 7th cranial nerve, is swollen, inflamed, or compressed, resulting in facial weakness or paralysis. Exactly what causes this damage is unknown.
Many scientists believe that a viral infection such as viral
Some cases of Bell's palsy are mild and do not require treatment. In these cases, symptoms may subside on their own within 2 weeks. For those cases that do require treatment, steroids such as
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These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.
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