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Why Does My Jaw Only Hurt on One Side?

November 8, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — sunnysmile @ 3:05 am
person with jaw pain in Dallas

Experiencing jaw pain is never fun. It can make it difficult to eat, drink, sleep, talk, and enjoy spending time with loved ones. Though you may expect pain in the jaw to be widespread, what does it mean if you only experience it in one place? Read on to learn some of the possible causes of jaw pain on one side of your face and when you should seek help from an emergency dentist.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder

This disorder affects the joint that connects your skull and jaw. If the disk that separates the bones in this joint and helps it move properly becomes misaligned or damaged, you may experience symptoms on one or both sides of your jaw, including:

  • Clicking or popping when opening the mouth or chewing
  • Difficulty opening and closing your mouth
  • Tenderness around the jaw
  • Earaches
  • Pain


A sinus infection, or sinusitis, is a condition in which the cavities around the nasal passages become inflamed. Though acute sinusitis may be caused by a cold or allergies, chronic sinusitis that lasts up to eight weeks may be caused by growths or an infection. Symptoms include facial pain, runny nose, nasal congestion, yellow or green mucus, headache, nasal congestion, facial pain, pressure in your ears and head, fatigue, and difficulty smelling or tasting. Additionally, inflammation of the sinus cavities behind the cheeks may cause you to feel pain in one or both sides of the jaw.

Dental Issues

Pain on one side of the jaw can be connected to several mouth issues, including:

  • Bleeding or painful gums
  • Pain when eating
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Tooth pain
  • Halitosis

Trigeminal Neuralgia

The trigeminal nerve is responsible for sending pain, touch, and temperature sensations from your face to your brain. Trigeminal Neuralgia generally results from abnormal pressure on this nerve, and this rare condition is usually caused by injury or brain abnormalities. This can keep the nerve from functioning correctly and can cause intense pain on one side of the face.


Osteomyelitis is this rare bone infection that develops when bacteria enter the bone. The jawbone can be at risk for developing this infection after dental surgery. Serious dental issues or a mouth injury can also cause osteomyelitis, and conditions that affect your immune health can increase your risk. Prompt treatment with antibiotics can prevent serious complications. Symptoms include swelling of the jaw, redness, fever, warmth in the jaw, difficulty opening and closing your mouth, halitosis, and numbness in the jaw or mouth.

Cysts and Tumors

Cysts are masses made of fluid, and tumors are masses made of tissue. Both are uncommon and can cause jaw pain. Even if they aren’t cancerous, they can still impact your oral health. Additionally, if they grow quickly enough, they can move your teeth out of place. Your dentist should be able to detect these growths during routine dental X-rays.

Jaw pain isn’t usually anything to worry about. But, when in doubt, speak with your dentist to make sure your oral health isn’t in danger so you can maintain a healthy smile.

About the Author

Sunny Smile Dental is here to provide the residents of Dallas and the surrounding communities with the best care available. If you’re experiencing jaw pain and in need of treatment, they can do a thorough exam and take X-rays to get to the root of the issue. Call Sunny Smile Dental at (972) 481-8800 or visit their website for more information on different kinds of jaw pain or to schedule an appointment with their talented team.

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