The onset of jaw pain can be gradual or come on suddenly. You may also notice it more at certain times, such as first thing in the morning, after working all day, or after eating. Your dentist will ask questions about your symptoms, including whether you notice the pain on both sides or on only one side. Six common causes of pain on only one side are discussed below for those asking why their jaw pain is on the right or left side only.
If you have pain on only one side of your jaw, schedule an appointment at Trident Dental for a comprehensive evaluation.
1. Inflamed or Infected Dental Pulp
The dental pulp is the soft tissue found in the center of each tooth. Although it is composed of blood vessels, connective tissues, and nerve fibers, it is best known as the nerve inside a tooth. The pulp can become inflamed or infected (abscessed tooth) from deep tooth decay, gum disease, cracks, defective dental restorations, and trauma.
A diseased dental pulp can cause pain that is easily isolated to one tooth and treated with root canal therapy. However, an abscessed tooth can also refer pain to the jaw on the same side as the affected tooth. This can be a dull ache or a sharp pain that is constant or intermittent.
2. Grinding or Clenching Your Teeth
Grinding your teeth while you sleep or clenching during the day puts enormous stress on your teeth and your jaws. The results typically include toothaches, headaches, a locking jaw, and jaw pain. While grinding and clenching can cause jaw pain on both sides, typically, one side is affected most.
3. TMJ Disorder
Grinding your teeth (bruxism) or clenching can be a factor in developing problems with your temporomandibular joint. TMJ disorder is one of the most common reasons patients seek treatment for jaw pain. Beside bruxism, other causes of TMJ disorder include misaligned teeth, facial trauma, stress, and dislocation of the joint’s disc.
4. Sinus Problems
Inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis) or sinus infection can mimic a toothache and cause mild to severe jaw pain. Sinus problems can cause pain on one or both sides and are typically felt as pain or pressure in the jaw around your upper back teeth.
5. Wisdom Tooth
An erupting wisdom tooth can develop a condition known as pericoronitis. This is an inflammation or infection of the gum tissue overlying the wisdom tooth. It is more common on the lower jaw and occurs when there is inadequate room for the tooth to completely erupt. Pericoronitis can cause severe jaw pain and a life-threatening infection if left untreated.
6. Salivary Gland Stones
Stones in a salivary gland can cause significant symptoms including swelling and jaw pain. Most salivary gland stones resolve with little treatment but occasionally require surgery.
Schedule Appointment if Your Jaw Pain is on the Right/Left Side Only
The oral health care professionals at Trident Dental can diagnose and help eliminate your jaw pain using our state-of-the-art techniques and equipment. Contact us today to learn more about our dental services to help you maintain optimal oral health.