If you have jaw pain on one side, it can be alarming. Whether the discomfort came on quickly or has worsened gradually, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Various factors contribute to jaw pain. Although most situations aren’t anything serious, your quality of life can be affected by the discomfort. You don’t want to ignore the problem for too long. Here are a few of the most common causes of one-sided jaw pain.
1. TMJ Disorders
Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are on either side of your face, connecting your jaw to your skull. The joint can function incorrectly for multiple reasons, like trauma, an uneven bite, or grinding your teeth. No matter the culprit, it can cause facial pain on one or both sides. You can also experience a variety of other symptoms, like difficulty opening and closing your mouth, clicking or popping sounds, earaches, or headaches. You may be a candidate for TMJ therapy using a device to move your jaw into a more comfortable position.
Sinusitis causes inflammation in the nasal cavities. While it’s normal to have nasal congestion with allergies or illnesses, a stuffy nose may not be the only problem. Your maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks. Sinus inflammation can cause facial pain that can affect your jaw. If your discomfort is accompanied by nasal congestion, mucus, or fatigue lasting for longer than 1 week, contact your healthcare provider.
A subconscious habit of grinding or clenching your teeth can trigger pain on one side of your face. Repeated friction can cause TMJ inflammation and pain. Over time, a TMJ disorder can develop, but that will be the least of your concerns. Bruxism can cause dental damage, like uneven wear, fractures, and tooth loss. A nightguard can provide a protective barrier between your upper and lower teeth to absorb the pressure. You’ll save your smile while keeping TMJ issues at bay.
4. Dental Problems
Some cases of jaw pain can be a complication from untreated dental problems, like cavities, infections, or impacted wisdom teeth. It’s not uncommon for a poor bite or misaligned teeth to cause one-sided pain. Depending on the cause, your dentist will create a personalized treatment plan, like root canal therapy, tooth extractions, or orthodontics, to stop your discomfort permanently.
If your discomfort doesn’t improve, schedule an appointment with your emergency dentist. They’ll identify the source of your pain to create the solutions you need to restore your quality of life.
About Dr. James D. Geer
Dr. Geer earned his dental degree from the University of Texas at Houston and has completed advanced education in many specialties, like tooth extractions, restorative dentistry, and TMJ therapy. He is a member of various professional organizations, including the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Geer has the training and qualifications you can trust. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment to find out what’s behind your jaw pain.