Why Am I Experiencing Pain On One Side Of My Jaw?

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Medically reviewed by Othman Lahmaydi, RDH

Are you experiencing pain on one side of your jaw? If so, there’s no need to panic; mild pain on one side of the jaw isn’t a major issue in most cases. However, if the pain persists, it may mean that you have an underlying medical condition.

Pain on one side of the jaw is normally a minor issue that will fade with time. However, if the pain persists, it may be a sign of underlying dental issues or Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD). In these cases, it’s recommended that you visit a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

Let’s explore the underlying medical conditions that can cause pain to occur on one side of your jaw. We’ll also look at some remedies for mild jaw pain and how to decide when to visit the dentist.  

Why Does My Jaw Hurt on One Side?

Woman In Pain

If you feel mild or severe pain on one side of your jaw, there’s no need to worry. Pain on one side of the jaw isn’t an issue that requires immediate action, at least in most cases. However, it can be a symptom of underlying medical problems. 

Medical problems that cause pain on one side of your jaw include dental issues and Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD). 

Let’s take a look at these medical conditions in more detail: 

Dental Issues

Oral health problems are the most common cause of pain on one side of the jaw. These problems include:

  • Cavities or tooth decay
  • Growth of the wisdom teeth
  • Gum diseases
  • Grinding or clenching of your teeth
  • Abscessed tooth

If you have dental issues, you may also experience symptoms such as:

  • Pain while chewing and eating
  • Bleeding and swelling of gums
  • Sore gums or mouth
  • Teeth or gum sensitivity 
  • Bad breath

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s highly recommended to contact your dentist immediately.  

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders, commonly known as TMD disorders, is another major cause of jaw pain. TMD is a common disorder that affects the joint that attaches your jaw to the skull. 

A disc helps this joint in proper movement as it separates the joint from its bones. If this disc gets injured or the joint is harmed, it could lead to jaw pain on one or both sides as well as other symptoms. 

Symptoms of TMD disorders are as follows:

  • Facial pain
  • Ear pain
  • Headaches 
  • Difficulty while opening or closing your mouth
  • Popping and clicking effect when you open your mouth
  • Tenderness and soreness around your jaw.

It’s not easy to find a specific cause for TMD disorders, but there are some common medical factors that can cause this disorder. The medical factors that result in TMD disorders include:

  • Misalignment of teeth
  • Tooth injury
  • Tissue damage
  • Arthritis 
  • Jaw injury
  • Jaw infection

You should visit your dentist if you experience any of these issues. 

Remedies for Jaw Pain

If you have mild pain on either side of your jaw, it usually isn’t a serious problem. In most cases, you won’t need any sort of medical treatment. It’s highly likely that this pain is temporary, and the pain will go away with time. 

In the meantime, here are some remedies to alleviate your jaw pain:

Hot or Cold Compress

Young woman suffering from toothache

You can use heat or a hot compress (on Amazon) to relax your muscles. A hot compress reduces the stiffness and soreness of the muscles and is a great way to relieve your pain.

Just like the hot compress, a cold compress has its own benefits. It numbs your pain and is a great way to reduce swelling around your jaw area. An easy home remedy involves placing an ice bag over your jaw until the pain subsides. 

Avoid Overworking Your Jaw

While you’re experiencing jaw pain, it’s best that you avoid food that requires a lot of chewing. Try to eat softer foods as they can help relax your jaw.

If the pain is severe, you can supplement your regular diet with more juices and other liquids.  

Change Your Sleeping Position

You can also relax your jaw by changing your sleeping position. Avoid sleeping on the side of your jaw that’s experiencing pain. Also, don’t place your hand under your jaw while sleeping since it can add more pressure to your jaw. 

Try to switch sides while sleeping; doing so is a simple way to decrease the pain. 

Use Over-the-Counter Medications

Over-the-counter medications can also help alleviate your jaw pain. Pain killers like Tylenol (on Amazon) and Advil (also on Amazon) are good options to relieve the pain temporarily.

You need to be careful while taking the medication and only use the recommended dosage on the package. 

Keep in mind that if the pain doesn’t go away through any of the above-mentioned remedies, it’s a sign that you have a more severe underlying problem.

In this case, you need to visit your dentist to check whether an underlying medical or dental problem is the cause of jaw pain.

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