Do you experience jaw pain on one side when you wake up? Maybe both sides of your jaw hurt or just one – left or right side. Whether you’re at work, chilling with friends, or spending time with your family, nothing can be more irritating and worrisome than a jaw pain that’s driving your mood and energy away.
There are several causes of a painful jaw, so when looking for treatment, the most important thing is diagnosing the reasons behind your pain. Your jaw is a delicate part of your body, and excessive clenching or other actions can bring you to a more painful state and incur jaw pain on one side.
Common Causes Of Jaw Pain On One Side
1. TMJ Disorders
TMD or TMJ disorders lead to improper functioning of these joints and the hinge muscle. TMJ disorder symptoms include difficulty when opening the mouth and a clicking or popping sound from the jaw. A sore and tender jaw is common. And you may also experience pain around the ears, and your jaw may ache when chewing or swallowing.
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is one of the main causes of a painful jaw. Bruxism has nothing to do with the movement of teeth you do for chewing or eating. It is linked to unuseful teeth grinding or clenching. Many of those suffering from bruxism grind their teeth while sleeping, which causes:
- severe teeth damage
- gum infections
- painful jaw joints
Grinding your teeth at night is way worse than daytime grinding. This is because your natural protective reflexes stop working while you’re asleep, which means that the grinding can aggravate. Many sufferers will wake up with jaw pain on one side of the face, either left or right. Soreness and discomfort are added symptoms. The main causes of teeth grinding are:
Sinusitis is the swelling of your nasal cavities and usually happens due to cold. Certain health issues and allergies can also cause sinusitis.
Due to the inflammation of maxillary sinuses, a person may experience jaw pain on one or both sides of the face.
Here are some other symptoms of sinusitis:
- yellowish or greenish mucus
- inflammation and pain in the face
- headaches and earaches
- blocked nasal passages making it difficult to breathe through your nose
- reduced sense of smell and taste
Most of the time, sinusitis gets better on its own, but it’s best to consult a physician if the condition persists longer than 7 days.
4. Dental problems
Oral health problems can often cause your jaw to hurt on one side. Some common dental issues causing a painful jaw include:
- tooth decay
- wisdom teeth eruption
- missing teeth
- gum disease
- tooth grinding
If the cause of your jaw ache is a dental issue, you may experience the added symptoms:
- pulsating tooth pain
- bleeding gums
- tooth sensitivity
- mouth sores
- bad breath
- dry mouth
- painful chewing or swallowing
Osteomyelitis is a bone infection caused by certain bacteria that makes its way through blood and affects bones and tissue. When it occurs in the jaw, there is pain, fever, and inflammation in the face. The infection develops most of the time because of bacteria entering the body due to jaw fracture or poor teeth cleaning routine after a dental procedure or surgery. The condition usually occurs in the lower jaw bone and affects more men than women.
6. An abscessed tooth
Another common reason behind the painful face and jaw is an abscessed tooth. When dental pulp that contains nerves, tissues, and blood vessels gets exposed to bacteria – infection develops. When this infection multiplies and reaches the gum and bone, the result is a pain in the oral cavity and soreness in the jaw.
How To Immediately Get Rid Of The Jaw Pain?
1. Heat or ice packs
To get rid of pain and inflammation of the jaw, apply an ice pack or heated pad to the area and hold it for 10 minutes. The heat helps relax an overactive jaw muscle, and cold helps in minimizing the swelling. Take off the pack, reapply and repeat the process for certain times.
2. Pain relief medication
OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help soothe the pain and discomfort.
3. Massage therapy
Massaging the affected area can help reduce muscle tension and relieve the painful joints. Using your index and middle finger, gently rub the sore area. Do it in a circular motion. You can also massage your neck.
How to prevent such issues in the long run?
To know about the best way to prevent future troubles with the jaw, it is important to diagnose the exact cause of your painful jaw. For instance, a patient suffering from osteomyelitis will need antibiotics to eliminate the infection.
1. Wear A Nightguard
A good way to make sure you don’t clench or grind your teeth while sleeping is by investing in a nightguard. This will prevent the jaw pain that you may experience in the morning and keep your face painless throughout the day. It’s a sort of protection for your teeth and also minimizes the frequency of teeth grinding. The best way to know the correct treatment for your condition is by visiting your dentist.
2. Reduce stress
Teeth grinding and TMDs both have stress and anxiety in their root causes. Controlling your everyday stress and working upon stress management can significantly reduce jaw pain. Here are some techniques you can use to reduce your stress:
- physical exercise
- talking to loved ones
3. Visit your dentist regularly
Scheduled appointments with your dentist will help keep your oral health in great condition. This also prevents any lingering dental issues from getting worse. If you ever feel unusual toothache or pain on one side of the jaw, immediately visit your dentist. Your caretaker may recommend tooth extraction or root canal.
Jaw pain on one side isn’t something to be ignored. Please do something about it before things get worse.