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What Causes Swollen Jaws

What Causes Swollen Jaws

Swollen jaws can be quite a painful condition, making the person unable to chew or speak. It could be caused by trauma to the jaw area, or it can also indicate certain underlying medical problems in the body.
Marlene Alphonse
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Jaw swelling, if accompanied by pain or symptoms like stiffness, making it difficult to open the jaw, then it is necessary to visit an orthodontist for further diagnosis. Noticing a swollen jaw, on either or both sides can be a sign of a cold, an inflammation or infection of the salivary gland, tooth problems, etc.
What Could Cause Jaw Swelling?
An inflammation or infection in any part of the jaws can lead to swollen glands , which can also make the jaw look swollen. This inflammation can also cause the sensitive tissues, muscles and lymph nodes to swell, usually followed by pain.
An abnormality in the tooth, especially like an impacted wisdom tooth can also be one of the causes of a swollen jaw. The wisdom teeth which normally grow behind the molars, may sometimes not have enough space to grow. This can lead to an impacted tooth which can cause swollen gums around tooth, localized pain and also may damage the nearby teeth.
Secondary infections can cause the growth of cysts in the jawline. These boils which can erupt around the jaws are usually filled with fluid, and can also grow in the salivary glands. The growth of these cysts can weaken the jaw structure, making it susceptible to fractures. At times, the cysts may rupture and lead to inflammation, over-sensitivity and swollen jaws
A fall , blow or blunt trauma to the jaw can cause mandibular fracture. This fracture can also occur due to excessive pressure around the mouth. Bone fragments of the jaw can become impacted, making the region become tender and swollen.
A swollen jaw could also be a repercussion of a facial surgery or medical alterations. Surgeries like liposuction, nose jobs, chin correction surgery can give rise to complications like facial and jawline swelling.
How is Jaw Swelling Treated
There are a few self-care measures that may help reduce the swelling and pain, but in case these remedial measures are not that effective, then it is necessary to consult a dentist for treatment.
  • At times a swollen jaw can be effectively treated with the help of cold compresses and warm saline water rinses. Holding an ice pack on the affected region for about 10 to 15 minutes can bring down the swelling considerably. However, it is advisable to avoid warm compresses, as they help only in aggravating the tooth infection.
  • Another effective remedial measure at home is to place slices of raw potato on the affected region twice or thrice a day. You can try this till the swelling comes down completely.
  • In case, the root cause of swollen jaws is tooth problems, then visiting a dentist is essential. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat infection, like sialoadenitis (inflammation of the salivary gland) and pain killers to stem the pain and discomfort. He may also instruct you to rinse your mouth with warm saline water to get rid of bacterial or viral infections.
  • If the jawbone has been injured or fractured as a result of an accident, fall or trauma, then the doctor may wrap a bandage around the face to hold the injured jaw in place till it heals completely. Pain killers are also prescribed along with other medications to speed up the recovery process.
Visiting an orthodontist regarding problems in the teeth and gum will help in reducing the chances of developing a swollen jaw and also keep infections and tooth problems at bay.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.