You are reading this article because you or someone you know has jaw pain on one side, let’s begin by clarifying that this is common.
In the US, poor dental hygiene and eating habits are the reasons behind oral problems. You can feel stiffness, ache, or even pain in the jawbone and the area near your ears.
There are chances where your pain may get severe, which eventually will hinder your daily life.
There can be a lot of factors that you may experience with this pain. For example, teeth grinding, toothache or gum disease. However, it can also hint at some serious problems, like a heart attack or dislocated/broken jaw.
Sudden pain can be alarming, jaw pain on one side is very painful and may not allow you to eat anything. You must be worried about what the reason. It could be anything, starting from dental issues like an abscessed tooth, cavity or bleeding gums.
Did you know about temporomandibular joints (TMJ)? This condition may create jaw pain on one side of your teeth when you have sinusitis or some oral issue. These can be well treated at home or with some over-the-counter drugs.
In this article, you will see all the possible reasons for jaw pain on one side. Also, the various symptoms that you should take care of. Some remedies can be done at home to give you instant relief. So why wait any further? Let’s dig in and find out how to prevent and even get rid of this problem ASAP.
How does jaw joint pain on one side feel?
Are you aware of how jaw pain on one side feels and where it exactly happens? Well, the stiffness that you may feel on your temporomandibular joints is what jaw pain is.
These joints are placed on both parts of the face, which is on the front side of your ears. It connects the lower jaw with your skull. The joint allows the movement of your jaw making activities like chewing, brushing, and gurgling possible.
But what does this pain feel like?
Below are a few examples:
- You may feel a throbbing ache or pain in the jaw
- It can feel like an injury in the jaw
- You might also feel the pain starting from your shoulders to your chest
- One must confirm that there are no underlying heart issues as chest pain starting from jaw can be traced as heart attack symptoms
- There may also be trouble in opening your mouth due to a condition called trismus
Causes of jaw pain on one side
A jaw pain disorder known as temporomandibular joint disorder is the most common reason for jaw pains. But some other reasons that cause such pain are as below:
A boil or abscess tooth can be very painful. It is a formation of pus near the tooth that causes bacterial ulceration.
This can be another reason for your jaw pain. Arthritis tends to affect your tooth. Isn’t that surprising? It may cause inflammation and begin to start breakage. Hence it could cause jaw pain on one side or temporomandibular joint pain.
Grinding teeth or Bruxism
Grinding your teeth may affect your temporomandibular joint and muscles, causing jaw pain.
Periodontal or gum disease
Poor dental health can be a deadly cause of jaw pains. Hence, with hygienic dental care, you can happily prevent any kind of gum disease.
Lockjaw (tetanus) or sinusitis can majorly cause jaw pains.
Have you ever suffered from mumps? This contagious disease could be a major cause of jaw pain since mumps can make the salivary gland swell, the area between your jaw and ears.
Dislocation or breakage is another cause of jaw pain which needs immediate treatment. Hence, when your temporomandibular is moved, the pain could be deadly, and you should treat it without delay.
Symptoms of jaw pain on one side
The list of symptoms of jaw pain on one side is endless. The table listed below can give you a clear idea:
Jaw pain on one side relief
Temporary or mild pain on one side of your jaw may not require medical treatment. If it is not that serious, it usually improves when the issue is taken care of.
Below are a few of the tips to handle your pain instantly at home:
True using heat therapy. Heat can help to relieve stiffness and aches and eventually relax the muscles.
Cold or ice compression can be an amazing therapy to relieve jaw pain and swelling on one side. The swelling due to jaw pain can be handled by numbing the area.
Over-the-counter medicine like Tylenol (Acetaminophen), Advil(ibuprofen), and other medications will help to relieve you from pain temporarily. These medicines will not need any prescription.
Do not forget to read the instruction and dosage on the packaging. But do not continue it for longer than the mentioned dosage. If your pain doesn’t subside within the recommended days, try getting help from a healthcare provider.
Rest your jaw
The most effective way to cure the pain instantly is to rest your jaw. Choose foods that do not require chewing and overworking the jaw muscles.
Massage could also be an instant reliever. A massage therapist, physical therapist, or healthcare provider may help you with massage therapy, which will provide instant relief. Using these techniques to release tension or pain in the jaw is very helpful. Also, these massage techniques can be done by yourself once you learn them. If you have a TMJ disorder, massage techniques can work wonders.
Do not ever panic. Try relaxing the jaw pain that comes from clenching or grinding your teeth. Relaxation techniques will help you handle stress in such situations. Relaxing the muscles will also help in relieving pain.
When do you visit a doctor for jaw joint pain
In the above explanation, it is mentioned using simple home remedies how can cure your jaw pain. Another way is changing your sleeping position.
Sleeping with a hand under your jaw could put stress and pressure on the muscles. Hence, changing the position of your sleep could release stress area.
Although jaw pain isn’t always serious, pain accompanied by certain symptoms could point to a more serious condition that requires treatment and a doctor.
You may consider seeing a dentist or healthcare provider if the ache or pain sustains long. However, to make your decision easy, there are a few symptoms to look at before seeing the dentist:
- You have difficulty drinking, eating, breathing or swallowing
- Pain in making movements of your mouth
- You have a fever or swelling that does not go away
- There is a severe pain that goes away and comes back along with a pus formation
- A swelling with extreme pain and a high fever affects your daily life
- The disability to swallow and breathe are serious symptoms requiring prompt treatment
Hence, if you face jaw pain and the above symptoms, it needs instant assistance and diagnosis. If you have a personal dentist, it’s best to reach out to him as he will already know the cause and treatment. This will lessen the diagnosis time and help you instantly.
How doctors diagnose jaw pain
If you do not have a personal dentist, then a physical examination will be conducted. It will begin with an extensive ear and jaw pain diagnosis.
You need to make sure that you mention all your previous medical history and the symptoms you are facing.
Below are a few of the things that need to be mentioned:
- Recent surgeries
- Mental health issues like anxiety, depression or stress
The doctor will check your jaw by listening and feeling it. But that’s not it, and the doctor will also check your ears, mouth and some vital signs to prevent any serious problems. The doctor might also ask you for an X-ray or MRI, or some imaging test to diagnose the condition.
Treatment to cure jaw joint pain on one side
The jaw joint pain on one side may have various causes, with different treatments to cure them. You may not require any treatment for TMJ as it cures on its own. However, there are still chances when external involvement is required. However, let’s see what the various ways to cure jaw pain depending on the causes are.
TMJ disorder treatment
- Jaw resting
- Home remedies
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Wearing a splint or brace to restrict movement
- Flushing the joints to reduce swelling
- Surgery, in the worst cases
This will require a doctor to intervene and prescribe you some anti-inflammatories.
Apart from the above home remedies, the doctor may prescribe you certain nasal sprays and other medications.
If you have a swimmer’s ear, you may have to take certain kinds of steroids along with some other medications.
Oral problems like periodontal disease, dental abscesses and cavities may even require tooth removal, deep cleaning or a root canal, along with other treatments.
Lifestyle changes that can ease your jaw pain
A few lifestyle changes can give you instant relief from jaw pain. Below are a few examples:
Keeping stress away will also keep your jaw pain away to an extent. Try a few stress-relieving methods like yoga, meditation, or journaling. These activities can help in reducing your jaw ache caused due to stress.
Avoid eating chewy foods
Food items that are tough, crunchy or even chewy can give too much pressure on your tooth. Hence, it’s better to avoid them until this pain subsides, like apples, chewing gum, ice, beef jerky, etc.
Did you know that caffeine could add up to jaw pain and muscle tension? Adding too much caffeine to your diet may create withdrawal symptoms. This could be difficult if you try to cut it out from your diet at a later stage.
Medical treatment to cure jaw pain
When you need medical treatment because none of the home remedies works, there are few non-invasive methods to treat jaw pain.
A dental protector made out of plastic that is worn on either lower or upper teeth. These also get custom-fitted for you. You can get one of these from a pharmacy, but you can get it customised from a dentist that fits the best. Wearing it during bedtime will help the unconscious grinding of your teeth.
These are prescribed by the dentist when your jaw tension doesn’t subside with mouthguards. But it will not work if you have TMD.
Sometimes, you may also have to inject botox injection into your jaw muscles for your pain. These Botox injections have botulinum toxin in them that prevents clenching, which will help to relieve the jaw ache because of TMD. The injections work like wonders and give instant relief.
Jaw surgeries are very rare. It is only recommended when the doctor needs to correct your TMD issues. It is only done when you have a structural issue in your jaw and calls for surgery.
I hope this clears all your queries on jaw pain and how you can treat some of them yourself at home. But make sure to visit a doctor if the pain persists for a longer period of time.