5 Things That Can Cause Jaw Pain on One Side

person with jaw pain holding their cheek

Are you experiencing jaw pain that only seems to be affecting one side of your face? Facial discomfort can make it difficult to bite, chew, speak properly, and concentrate on tasks. There are many potential causes of jaw pain on one side of the jaw, including dental issues like bleeding or painful gums, sensitive teeth, pain when eating, and tooth pain. Read on to learn about five more potential causes of jaw pain on one side that may require treatment from an emergency dentist.

#1: Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are located on both sides of your face in front of your ears. They connect your skull to your lower jawbone and help you chew and speak. When someone has temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), this means the disk that separates the bones and helps the joint move have become misaligned or damaged. This may cause you to experience symptoms on one or both sides of your jaw, including:

  • Popping or clicking when you open your mouth or chew
  • Trouble opening and closing your mouth
  • Tenderness near the jaw
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Earaches

#2: Sinusitis

This is a sinus infection in which the cavities around the nasal passages are inflamed. Acute sinusitis may be caused by allergies or a cold, but chronic sinusitis that lasts eight weeks or longer may be caused by an infection or growths. Additionally, inflammation of the sinus cavities located behind the cheeks may cause pain on one or both sides of the jaw. Common symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Pressure in your ears and head
  • Trouble smelling or tasting
  • Yellow or green mucus
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Fatigue

#3: Trigeminal Neuralgia

The trigeminal nerve is a large, three-part nerve in your head that provides sensation. It’s responsible for sending touch, temperature sensations, and pain from your face to your brain. Trigeminal Neuralgia is a rare condition that occurs when abnormal pressure is put on this nerve. It’s usually caused by an injury or abnormalities in the brain. This can prevent the nerve from functioning properly and may cause severe pain on one side of the face.

#4: Osteomyelitis

A rare bone infection called osteomyelitis develops when bacteria enter the bone. After dental surgery, the jawbone may be at risk of developing this infection. Mouth injuries and serious dental issues can also cause osteomyelitis. If you have a condition that affects your immune health, this can also increase your risk. Prompt treatment with antibiotics can keep serious complications from developing. Symptoms of osteomyelitis include:

  • Issues opening and closing your mouth
  • Numbness in the jaw or mouth
  • Jaw swelling and warmth
  • Redness
  • Halitosis
  • Fever

#5: Cysts and Tumors

Tumors are abnormal masses of tissue that form when cells grow and divide more than they should or don’t die when they should. Cysts are abnormal growths filled with liquid or a semisolid substance that are usually noncancerous. Both can cause jaw pain and impact your oral health. If they grow quickly enough, they can push your teeth out of place. Dentists can detect these growths using dental X-rays.

Jaw pain on one side of the face isn’t always a dental emergency, but there’s no harm in visiting your dentist just in case. They can determine what’s causing the discomfort, treat the issue, and help you get back to smiling in comfort!

About the Author

Dr. Lance Timmerman and his Tukwila team aim to make your dental appointments comfortable and stress-free. They offer a variety of services to ensure that your smile looks its best. If you are experiencing pain on one side of your jaw, they can determine the cause and administer treatment to keep your smile healthy and discomfort-free. To learn more about their services or to make an appointment, call (206) 350-6199 or visit their website today.

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