Read below about painful jaw lump, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your painful jaw lump from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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9 Potential Painful Jaw Lump Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Temporomandibular Joint (Tmj) Dysfunction Disorder

    The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is located in front of the ear, and it connects the jaw to the side of the head. Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a painful condition which can be caused by excess tension in jaw mucles, faulty alignment between upper and lower teeth, arthritis in the joint, or injury of the jaw or face.

    Outcome is highly case-dependent.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, pain, restricted movement, and clicking sounds from jaw, history of headaches, jaw pain, pain in the back of the neck
    Symptoms that always occur with temporomandibular joint (tmj) dysfunction disorder:
    pain, restricted movement, and clicking sounds from jaw
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa)

    Swimmer's ear, also known as otitis externa, is inflammation, irritation, or infection of the outer ear and ear canal.

    7-10 days

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, ear canal pain, ear fullness/pressure, jaw pain, ear pain that gets worse when moving
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Myofascial Pain Syndrome

    Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic musculoskeletal syndrome caused by trigger points within muscle. Pressure on these points causes pain in the area around the point as well as in other body parts, a phenomenon known as referred pain.

    Resolution of pain is dependent on type of treatment.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, spontaneous shoulder pain, pain in the back of the neck, tender muscle knot, general numbness
    Symptoms that always occur with myofascial pain syndrome:
    tender muscle knot
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Osteonecrosis of the Jaw

    This is a condition where the jaw bone is exposed (this happens if it is not covered by gums). To be called osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), this condition must persist for at least 8 weeks. This disease is common among people taking medications called bisphosphonates or RANKL inhibitors.

    Resolves within months with conservative treatment.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    jaw pain, jaw lump, toothache, swollen jaw, heavy jaw
    Symptoms that always occur with osteonecrosis of the jaw:
    jaw pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  5. 5.Osteoma of Skull and Facial Bones

    An osteoma is a benign (non-cancerous) outgrowth of bone, usually in the skull and facial bones. They are slow growing and usually cause no symptoms. Osteomas are noticed once they begin causing problems with breathing, vision, or hearing.

    Prognosis is good, as this is not cancer. Surgical excision is successful for most people.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    new headache, vision changes, steady headache, trouble swallowing, sinus pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Mononucleosis Infection

    EBV Mononucleosis is a clinical syndrome characterized by fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes.

    2-3 weeks

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, abdominal pain (stomach ache), cough
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Acute Bacterial Sinusitis

    Acute bacterial sinusitis occurs when the sinuses become infected and, in turn, inflamed, which causes pain and other symptoms. The sinuses are air-filled cavities in the face that are generally clean and empty but when they're sick collect excess mucus and can become infected. When your symptoms are persisting for 10 days or more or are getting worse over time, it's more likely that you'll have a bacterial infection as compared to a viral infection.

    7-15 days

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, cough, sinusitis symptoms, muscle aches
    Symptoms that always occur with acute bacterial sinusitis:
    sinusitis symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with acute bacterial sinusitis:
    clear runny nose, being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Possible Meniere's Disease

    Meniere's disease is a disorder of the inner ear. It can cause severe dizziness, a roaring sound in the ears called tinnitus, hearing loss that comes and goes and the feeling of ear pressure or pain. Meniere's commonly develops between the ages of 20 and 60, and most often starts in only one ear.

    Life-long condition, attacks may happen 6-11 times per year on average.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, episodic dizziness, ringing in the ears, vertigo (extreme dizziness), ear fullness/pressure
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Skin Cyst

    An epidermoid cyst is a closed sac under the skin filled with a cheese-like or oily material. It is caused by trauma or surgery.

    Resolves with treatment

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    skin-colored neck bump, marble-size neck lump, small neck lump
    Symptoms that always occur with skin cyst:
    skin-colored neck bump
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Painful Jaw Lump

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Are you experiencing a headache?
  • Q.Do you have a rash?
  • Q.Do you have a sore throat?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our painful jaw lump symptom checker to find out more.

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Painful Jaw Lump Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced painful jaw lump have also experienced:

    • 9% Jaw Pain
    • 4% Headache
    • 4% Moderate Jaw Pain
  • People who have experienced painful jaw lump had symptoms persist for:

    • 37% Less Than a Week
    • 28% Less Than a Day
    • 19% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced painful jaw lump were most often matched with:

    • 13% Temporomandibular Joint (Tmj) Dysfunction Disorder
    • 8% Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa)
    • 2% Myofascial Pain Syndrome
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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