Dr. Mark Berkowitz
Crystal Cinelli, LMT
What a delightfully interesting question. It is a normal characteristic of people to rub something that is causing them pain. For example, when someone bumps their arm they tend to rub it with the other hand for a couple of minutes. The reason for called the pressure-gate theory; which is a fantasy name for a theory that says that when it comes to pressure and pain signals, pressure will get through to the brain before pain does.
If we apply the pressure-gate theory to the facial massage question the answer is yes, facial massages will help ease tooth pain. As a matter of fact the first thing someone does when they have tooth pain is to put their hand over the tooth that is bothering them and subconsciously start rubbing it. This means that the pain signal going to the brain will get interrupted in favor of the pressure signal, easing the pain.
It is important to know that the pressure-gate theory does not eliminate the pain because it does not get rid of the source of the pain. It only eases the brains interpretation of pain. It is recommended that a facial massage only be done to relieve pain while getting the cause of the pain treated. Hope this helps
My best to you!
William F. Scott IV, DMD
Deluxe Dental Group