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Why Does Your Jaw Hurt on One Side? 5 Possible Causes

November 16, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — cascobay @ 11:01 pm
Man rubbing one side of mouth due to jaw pain

One minute you felt completely normal, and the next you suddenly started experiencing serious pain on one side of your jaw. The first two questions on your mind are likely to be “What’s causing my pain?” and “Is this a sign of something serious?” Fortunately, jaw pain usually isn’t cause for immediate concern; that said, it’s important to be aware of what it could mean. The following post explores 5 potential reasons for jaw pain on one side.

1. TMJ Disorders

TMJ stands for “temporomandibular joint”, which is the name of the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull. If the TMJ on one side of your head is damaged or has a misaligned disc, it can lead to chronic discomfort. Other potential warning signs of a TMJ disorder include earaches, a clicking sound when you open your mouth, and lockjaw.

2. Sinusitis

When you have a cold or are suffering from allergies, the sinus cavities behind your cheeks may become inflamed, which can result in pain in one or both sides of the jaw. Your discomfort is likely connected to sinus problems if it’s accompanied by nasal congestion that makes it hard to breathe. Luckily, this particular source of jaw pain usually goes away on its own.

3. Certain Dental Problems

Jaw pain is often a side effect of other oral health problems. In particular, it can be a symptom of tooth decay, an abscessed tooth, impacted wisdom teeth, gum disease, and bruxism. If you have jaw pain that you suspect is connected to another dental issue, call your emergency dentist right away.

4. Heart Attack

In rare cases, jaw pain on one side can be an early warning sign of a heart attack. If it is, you’ll probably notice other symptoms as well, including pressure or pain in your chest, heartburn, shortness of breath, nausea, extreme tiredness, and sudden cold sweats. Call the emergency room immediately if you think your jaw pain might be connected to heart problems.

5. Rare Conditions

There are a few relatively rare conditions that might result in one-sided jaw pain, including:

  • A tumor or cyst in your mouth or jaw.
  • Pressure on the trigeminal nerve that stimulates movement in the jaw muscles.
  • An infection of the jawbone.

If there isn’t a clear reason for your jaw pain, get in touch with your regular healthcare provider so that they can narrow down the underlying issue.

In short, there could be any number of reasons why you might experience one-sided jaw pain, and while it’s not always an urgent problem, you’ll definitely want to see a doctor or dentist as soon as possible so that it can be properly diagnosed and treated.

About the Author

Dr. Rob McVety graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine. Today he is a member of several professional organizations, such as the Maine Dental Association. At Casco Bay Smiles in Falmouth, he can use cutting-edge technology to narrow down the source of jaw pain so that an appropriate treatment plan can be devised. To schedule a visit with Dr. McVety, visit his website or call (207) 517-7008.

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