The anatomy of the human face is unique and approximately symmetrical, meaning that the vertical half of a face resembles the other half. So, asymmetry that there is a noticeable difference when comparing the two halves of the face means something is wrong. For instance, if you find yourself experiencing pain with a swollen jaw on one half of the face, that can be a sign that a few problems are causing it and thus, you should know how to manage it accordingly.

What May Cause Swollen Jaw on One Side with Pain?


A multitude of microorganisms can be the culprit of an infection that causes pain and swollen jaw on one side. It can be caused an isolated condition which infects the uppermost superficial layers like the skin or subcutaneous fat, or it can be a complicated situation where the deeper tissues like the muscles or bones are infected. The culprits are usually viruses or bacteria but, rarely, they can be fungi or parasites. Infections can come in a variety of forms including cellulitis, abscess (of the teeth, gums or around the tonsils), sinusitis, osteomyelitis when the jaw or skull bones are infected, parotitis (mumps infection of the parotid gland), lymphadenitis (lymph node infection) or eye infections (for example conjunctivitis, keratitis).


This is the most frequent cause of swollen jaw on one side with pain. It is characterized by a temporary swelling that arises rapidly and can be traced back to a distinct trauma or injury, usually to the face. It can come from all kinds of conditions including car accidents, assault, falls, bites or stings from insects, chemical burns, surgery, skull or jaw fractures or even serious sunburn. In all these cases, you will have inflammation that causes fluid accumulation from the faulty blood vessels as this is the body’s way of defending the tissue. Warm feeling, redness, pain and tenderness will be noted upon inspection of the affected area. Blood can be present if there was a ruptured blood vessel.

Muscular Troubles

Muscles located in the face such as the large masseter muscle are essential in developing but can alter the size and shape of the face when muscle problems occur. These problems can be separated into two groups: hypertrophy and atrophy. Hypertrophy causes the amplification of a muscle on one half of the face along with unilateral chewing and jaw clenching. While partial or complete paralysis of the muscle on one side of the face, such as Bell's palsy, will cause muscular atrophy (declining) on one side of the face. In rare cases, facial distortion is linked to specific nerve or muscle diseases.


A multitude of allergic reactions can cause swollen jaw on one side with pain, with the most serious case being an anaphylactic reaction. This is a serious condition and potentially life threatening, therefore, immediate medical attention is required. Anaphylactic reactions usually cause bilateral swelling causing the whole face to be affected. Other allergic reasons can be allergic conjunctivitis, hay fever, drug allergies, insect sting/bite related, allergic reaction from creams and cosmetics, etc.

Tumor Growths

Tumors can also be a cause of a swollen jaw. They can be either benign or malignant and form in a variety of tissues such as the muscles, subcutaneous fat, bones, skin, connective tissue, lymph nodes or vessels. In more rare cases, tumor near nerves or blood vessels can be at fault for giving rise to a swollen jaw on one side.


Just like many symptoms, there are also other causes like systemic diseases that affect the entire body or several organs as part of a condion. These types of conditions usually cause bilateral swelling, but rarely, they can cause unilateral swelling. These conditions include:

  • Kidney failure

  • Heart failure

  • Liver failure

  • Chushing syndrome

  • Serum sickness

  • Obesity

  • Malnutrition

Home Remedies for Swollen Jaw

Cold and Ice

Use ice or dip a cloth in cold water and smoothly press to relieve the swollen jaw on one side with pain. Hold it for 30 seconds. By doing this a couple of times, instant relief will occur as it numbs the pain.

Warm Relief

Use a warm compress or dipped cloth in warm water and apply it to the affected area. It should be held for half a minute and repeated once more, for three times daily, thereby giving the skin a smooth feeling. It will promote increased blood circulation and hasten the healing process by reducing pain and inflammation.

Avoid Established Allergens

This is an effective long term solution of great benefit especially if the allergen causing the symptoms is recognized. After knowing the allergens, read labels of certain items, medications or foods ingredients and decrease the risk of possible symptoms and complications.

Try Potatoes

This is a natural remedy against pain and inflammation by providing a cooling effect. Cut and slice a potato and apply it on the affected area for roughly 15 minutes. Alternatively, boiling potatoes, mashing it up in a cloth and applying it can also give instant relief.

Decrease Salt Intake

Too much salt and foods with high sodium content can cause increased water retention, leading to swelling and puffiness of the face. Therefore, foods such as junk food, fast foods and frozen foods that contain high amounts of salt should be avoided.

Go to See Your Doctor

If the symptoms of pain and swollen jaw on one side do not go away, then a visit to the doctor is required. The doctor will be able to determine the underlying causes and give you the correct medication for your symptoms. Even if there is no harm, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Tips for Preventing Swollen Jaw

  • Keeping proper oral hygiene. Untreated oral diseases can lead to complications and finally, jaw inflammation.

  • To evade complications and decrease the risk of other oral diseases, a healthy diet of beneficial foods should be built.

  • Getting enough sleep and rest is essential to help your body fight against any possible diseases.

  • Avoiding trauma or injury.


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