A man holding his face because of jaw pain on one side

8 Common Causes for Jaw Pain on One Side

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Why does my jaw hurt on one side? Jaw pain or sore jaw on one side can be attributed to several causes. Whether you have jaw pain on the right or the left side, the possible causes are the same except when your jaw pain is caused by heart attack.

When your jaw hurt on one side, the cause is mostly a simple problem. However, in rare cases the cause may be serious and life threatening.You should seek immediate help if your jaw pain is associated with other symptoms such as shortness of breath and chest pain.

So, what are the most common causes of one side jaw pain and sore jaw? Dr. Khalifeh will discuss the 8 most common causes of jaw pain on one side listed from the most to the least common. 

Dental and Gum Problems

Dental pain will make your jaw hurt on the same side of the problematic tooth. In general, tooth ache is caused by:

  • Tooth decay (cavities)
  • Dental abscess
  • Receding gums
  • Exposed dentine
  • Bite problem
  • Cracked tooth.
  • Broken tooth
  • Wisdom teeth
  • Periodontal disease
  • Gum abscess and 
  • Bruxism

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder

TMJ disorder also called TMD is the second most common cause of jaw pain or sore jaw on one side or both sides. TMD is a group of condition that affect your jaw joint and / or related structures. These conditions include:

  • Osteoarthritis of the TMJ
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Myalgia
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • TMJ disc problems
  • Jaw locking

Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)

The maxillary sinuses are closely related to the upper posterior teeth. Sinusitis can cause teeth and jaw pain and tenderness. Sinusitis pain get worse when you bite on your teeth or lay down. Antibiotics may help treat sinusitis and cure your pain symptoms.

Sinusitis is also associated with nasal congestion, pressure pain in the upper jaw, bad breath and tenderness of the cheek bone. Surgical treatment may be indicated for chronic sinusitis. However, Your ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor is the best specialist to treat your sinuses.

Ear Infection

An ear infection will make you feel pain on the same side of the problem. It is interesting to say that ear pain can be mistaken as TMJ pain. on the other hand, TMJ pain might be mistaken as ear pain too. Therefore, you should consult with the right specialist to receive the right treatment. 

Migraine Headache

Migraine headache is characterized by pulsating pain on one or both sides of the head. This is a genetic problem more common in women than men. Facial Migraine is a type of migraine that is felt in the face not the head. However, Facial Migraine feels like pulsating pain same as migraine headache. Facial Migraine respond well to migraine medications such as the Triptan family.

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition characterized by shooting pain that feels like electric shock. The pain can be spontaneous or stimulated by touching an area called the trigger zone.  Neuralgia is more likely to affect one side of the face but may affect both sides. Treatment include medications, injections and surgery. 

Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain is caused by a disease affecting the nerves. generally speaking, neuropathic pain feels like burning pain that is hard to diagnose and hard to treat. Dr. Khalifeh is one of the few Orofacial Pain specialists in Los Angeles who is an expert in diagnosing and treating neuropathic pain conditions in the oral and facial region. Neuropathic pain is common in patients with multiple sclerosis(MS).

Patients with neuropathic pain may suffer for years running between different healthcare specialist seeking help before finding the right specialist. It is common for patients with neuropathic pain to receive un-needed treatment such as, multiple root canals and teeth extractions. Therefore, finding the right specialist will save you time, money and help you avoid wrong dental treatment.

Heart Attack

One of the symptoms of heart attack is feeling pain on the left arm, left shoulder, and left jaw. Although Heart attack is associated with common symptoms such as chest pain, breathing difficulty and nausea, jaw pain may be the only symptom of heart attack. However, an experienced orofacial pain specialist may save your life if you consult with him early for jaw pain caused by heart attack. Jaw pain on right side is not common with heart attack.

If you have pain in one side of your jaw, you may need professional help. Call Dr. Khalifeh at: (323) 933-3855 or contact us by email to schedule a personal consultation.

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