A sore jaw can seem like a simple inconvenience, but it can interfere with a lot of things you do daily.
Aching pain in one side of your jaw, either on your left or right, can be annoying when eating and talking.
However, you can’t be too complacent. If you feel pain on one side of your jaw, this can also indicate a serious underlying cause.
Other symptoms can accompany jaw pain to pinpoint the specific illness.
To fully understand, we’ll look into the possible conditions that cause jaw pain and what steps you need to do after.
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- Why Does My Jaw Hurt on One Side?
Why Does My Jaw Hurt on One Side?
Causes of Jaw Pain On One Side
Jaw pain is a common type of complaint associated with the lower jaw or mandible. One-sided jaw pain usually subsides on its own.
Although, persistent pain on one side, when left untreated, can become severe.
It can be a direct result of physical injury, behavioral, or systemic disease. Other symptoms can develop suddenly or slowly.
The following are possible causes and symptoms that accompany jaw pain.
1) Temporomandibular Joint Disorders
The temporomandibular joint is located on each side of the head in front of the ears. This is a soft cartilage disk that acts as a cushion between the joints.
A temporomandibular disorder is a condition in which the cartilage becomes damaged or misaligned.
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is associated with other conditions such as dental issues, jaw injury, infection, arthritis, teeth clenching, or teeth grinding.
The exact cause of TMJ disorder is challenging to determine.
Temporomandibular disorders symptoms include jaw soreness and swelling, earaches, headaches, clicking or popping sounds on the jaw joint.
A lockup in the bones around the jaw can also signify TMJ disorder making it difficult to open or close it again.
Thus, facial muscles may compensate for TMJ disorders.
Eventually, this condition results in referred pain around the neck, head and shoulders.
Temporomandibular joint disorder may worsen over time and erode the joints between the skull and jaw, making an early diagnosis of TMJ disorders critical.
2) Myofascial pain syndrome
Myofascial pain syndrome is caused by muscle injury from overuse through repetitive motions. Pressure on trigger points of the muscles causes scar tissues to form.
Eventually, the jaw is affected and cause facial pain on one or both sides.
3) Dental issues
Jaw soreness or sudden pain on one side can be caused by a dental problem such as an abscessed tooth, cavities, gum disease, emerging wisdom teeth, and misaligned teeth.
Misaligned teeth can interfere with jaw movement and cause pain because the jaw muscles try to compensate.
An abscessed tooth or tooth infection occurs when nerves, tissues, and blood vessels become infected. This infection collects pus in the center of the tooth.
An abscessed tooth can spread to the gums and bones, leading to pain around the mouth and jaw.
Facial swelling, tooth pain, bad breath, and fever are signs and symptoms that you have an abscessed tooth or cavities.
Sinusitis comes from a cold or allergic reaction but eventually resolves on its own. Jaw pain is influenced by it when the sinus cavities behind the cheeks become inflamed.
Additional symptoms you may experience with jaw pain are trouble tasting or smelling, tiredness, nasal congestion, and phlegm.
Bruxism is one of the leading causes of jaw pain on one side.
It is also known as teeth grinding or clenching and usually occurs while sleeping and leads to damaged teeth.
Stress and anxiety can be a cause of teeth grinding. Stimulant drugs and caffeine can also influence this behavior.
6) Tumors and cysts
Tumors are masses of tissue, and cysts contain pus. These can have an impact on oral health by destroying bone and tissue in your mouth.
Tumors or cysts along the jaw and mouth can multiply, causing muscle or dental problems.
If you have red or white patches in your mouth, bleeding sores, painful gums, severe tooth pain, and a lump or growth you may need to be diagnosed for tumors or cysts.
Some may be cancerous, which makes it essential to seek immediate treatment from a healthcare provider.
7) Heart Attack
Jaw pain can also be a sign of a heart attack. Although rare, it is crucial to identify the signs for it.
Heart conditions such as angina or arteritis may trigger jaw pain accompanied by chest pains.
You may also experience muscle tension in the chest or arms, heartburn, indigestion, fatigue, dizziness. Immediate medical care should be sought for this condition.
8) Dislocation of the jaw
In rare cases, dislocation and injury to the jawbone cause jaw pain.
They are not apparent right away, but emergency care is needed for this type of injury.
Tips and Treatments for One-Sided Jaw Pain
For mild jaw pain that does not need medical attention, you can manage the pain at home. This type of jaw pain usually clears up immediately.
However, if you experience additional symptoms or worse pain, seek treatment from a doctor or dentist.
- Apply a hot compress on the side of your jaw where your jaw hurts to relax your muscles and relieve aches and stiffness.
- A cold compress can also help with pain by numbing your jaw muscle. Moreover, it can help with facial swelling.
- Relax your jaw and take a rest from overworking your mouth by eating soft and easy to chew foods. It would be best to avoid stress to prevent grinding or clenching of teeth and learn relaxation techniques.
- Massage therapy from a professional therapist can relieve tension and pain in your jaw.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers like Relief Factor can help temporarily. Even so, only take the proper dosage, and if you need to take it longer, seek other medical treatments.
- Keep your teeth healthy by regularly visiting your dentist. Oral health concerns can cause jaw pain, so brushing your teeth and preventing cavities will help avoid it from recurring.
When to See a Doctor or Dentist
Some conditions that cause one-sided jaw pain can progress to something worst that may need immediate medical care.
Visit your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis of your disease.
- When you experience pain in your mouth or jaw for prolonged periods and are accompanied by debilitating symptoms such as high fever, chest pain, and fatigue, visit a hospital immediately.
- Also if your jaw pain interferes with simple tasks and your health, such as trouble eating, drinking, swallowing or breathing.
- You hear a clicking sound around your jaw joint, have difficulty opening your mouth, and other additional symptoms of a temporomandibular disorder.
- Suppose your jaw hurt on one side from physical impact that may result in jaw injury. It may be caused by a dislocation or fracture and will need emergency treatment.
- Visit your dentist if you have emerging wisdom teeth and a dental problem like cavities or gum disease.
- If you have severe tooth pain, bleeding gums, mouth sores, lumps or growth in your mouth. Any signs of an infection, tumor or cysts, will need immediate treatment.
Jaw pain on one side of your face can seem like a trivial issue. However, we cannot ignore how some diseases can gradually take over our health.
It is vital to be familiar with the conditions that cause a particular symptom.
Simply taking care of our oral health and avoiding stress will keep jaw pain from coming back.
If we abuse our body, it can cause health consequences such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
Moreover, ignoring one-sided jaw pain, which is a sign of a heart attack, can cause a person’s life.
A reminder that the information provided here is for educational purposes only and does not provide complete details for a proper diagnosis of a disease.
It is recommended that you seek professional advice from a healthcare provider.