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Why Does My Jaw Hurt on Only One Side?

August 11, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — canalsidedental @ 3:09 pm
Woman visiting medical professional for jaw pain on one side

If you are experiencing jaw pain on one side in Buzzards Bay, you may be alarmed. Fortunately, this problem usually does not indicate any life-threatening medical condition. However, it can point to the need to seek emergency dental care. This blog post discusses some common reasons for jaw pain that occurs on only one side.

Is It a Heart Attack?

In rare instances, jaw pain is a symptom of a heart attack. This usually occurs in women, but men may experience it as well. If your jaw pain is accompanied by other signs of a heart attack, such as pain or pressure in the chest, extreme tiredness, shortness of breath, or sudden cold sweats, call 911 right away.

If you are reasonably sure that your heart is fine, your jaw pain may be caused by something else entirely.

TMD Pain

TMD is a condition that affects the TMJ, the joint that connects the lower jaw to the rest of the skull. It can have numerous causes, such as teeth grinding, arthritis, or even just a stressful lifestyle. TMD discomfort may resolve on its own in some cases, but it is still wise to visit a dentist who can help you identify its cause and develop a plan for long-term relief.

Dental Abscess

When an infection affects the root of a tooth, an abscess may form either in the tooth itself or in the surrounding gum tissue. This can cause significant pain in one side of the jaw. Facial swelling, a bad taste in the mouth, a pimple-like bump in the gums, and a bad toothache can be other indications of an abscess.

Left untreated, a dental infection can spread and cause systemic illness. It is a dental emergency that deserves prompt treatment.


Sinusitis can occur when the sinus cavities above the upper jaw become inflamed, which may cause some dental or jaw pain. This issue may be due to allergies, a cold, or other circumstances that can cause nasal congestion. Sinusitis usually goes away on its own within a week or so, but if it persists for a long time, you may need to visit your general physician for care.

Other Possible Causes of One-Sided Jaw Pain

Some rare causes of one-sided jaw pain include:

  • Trigeminal neuralgia. The trigeminal nerve is a cranial nerve that, when it faces abnormal pressure, can cause severe pain on one side of the face.
  • Osteomyelitis. This is a rare type of bone infection that can occur after dental surgery. It can be life-threatening if it is left untreated, so prompt care is essential.
  • Tumors and cysts. These growths are usually not cancerous or life-threatening, but they can sometimes cause jaw discomfort.

In most cases, one-sided jaw pain is not an indication of a life-threatening medical condition. However, it is still worth your time to seek professional care.

Meet the Practice

The professionals at Canal Side Family Dental are equipped to care for a range of emergency dental issues, including abscesses, TMD pain, cavities, and more. If you believe your jaw pain may be related to your oral health, we encourage you to visit us as soon as possible. Contact us at 508-375-3149 to learn more about our services or to request an appointment. 

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Canal Side Family Dental is a 42 North Dental Care, PLLC practice and is owned and operated by dentists Dr. Samuel Shames, DDM. and Dr. Ronald Weissman, DDM. Gentle Dental is supported by 42 North Dental, LLC, a dental support organization that provides non-clinical administrative and business support services to the practice. 42 North Dental, LLC does not own or operate the dental practice or employ dentists to provide dental services. Find more information about 42 North Dental, LLC and the dental practices it supports at