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Why Does My Jaw Hurt on One Side?

September 14, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — AdvancedDental @ 12:35 am
Woman with jaw pain on one side in Greenfield

If you have pain in any part of your body, this can be frustrating and alarming. It is difficult to know what you should do about it. If you are experiencing pain on one side of your jaw, there are numerous reasons why this could be happening. Many times, this isn’t a serious issue, but you should know when to seek help. Continue reading to learn about some of the reasons why you may be experiencing one-sided jaw pain so you know when you should head to your emergency dentist.

Common Reasons for Jaw Pain

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders

These disorders affect the joint that connects your skull and jaw. A disc separates the bones in this joint and helps it to move around properly. If the disc becomes misaligned or the joint is damaged in some way, you could experience pain and other symptoms on one or both sides of your jaw. Other symptoms include tenderness around the jaw, earaches, clicking or popping when chewing or opening the mouth, and difficulty opening and closing your mouth if the joint locks.


Inflammation in your nasal cavities can cause you to develop sinusitis. This tends to happen if you’ve had a cold, but allergies and other medical conditions can also contribute. If the sinus cavities behind the cheeks become inflamed, you may feel pain in one or both sides of the jaw. Other symptoms include nasal congestion, yellow or green mucus, facial pain, pressure in your ears and head, fatigue, and difficulty smelling or tasting.

Dental Issues

If you have pain on one side of your jaw, this can be traced back to your teeth and gums. Dental issues that can cause jaw pain include tooth decay, tooth abscesses, impacted wisdom teeth, gum disease, misaligned teeth, and bruxism. If a dental issue is the reason behind your jaw pain, you may also be experiencing some of the following:

  • Tooth pain
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Bleeding, painful gums
  • Halitosis
  • Pain when chewing or swallowing

Less Common Reasons for Jaw Pain

Trigeminal Neuralgia

This condition generally results from abnormal pressure on the trigeminal nerve. This can prevent the nerve from functioning properly and lead to severe pain. An injury or brain abnormality can cause this rare condition. It is most common in woman and people above the age of 50 with the most common symptom being severe pain on one side of the face.


Osteomyelitis is a rare, serious type of bone infection that develops when bacteria enter bone. The jawbone can become at risk after a dental surgery, when you have a serious dental issue, or if your mouth is injured. Conditions that affect your immune health can also increase your risk. If this is the case, prompt treatment with antibiotics can prevent serious medical complications. Other symptoms include a fever, swelling of the jaw, redness and warmth in the area, halitosis, difficulty opening and closing your mouth, and numbness of the jaw or mouth.

Tumors and Cysts

A tumor is a mass of tissue while a cyst is a mass of fluid. Both can cause pain to your jaw, but they are uncommon. A lot of the time, they aren’t cancerous, but they still have an impact on your oral health. They may grow quickly and move your teeth out of place. This can typically be detected during your routine dental X-rays during your 6-month checkups.

Jaw pain isn’t usually a concerning issue, but it is still something you should bring up to your dentist. This way, you can get to the root of the problem and get some relief!

About the Author

Dr. William Carini is an experienced dentist who has been working in the field for over two decades. He earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Maquette University School of Dentistry and has taken many courses dedicated to implant dentistry. He is currently a proud member of the Academy of Laser Dentistry. If you’re dealing with jaw pain, he’d be happy to take a look. For more information or to schedule an appointment at his office in Greenfield, visit his website or call (414) 209-7463.

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