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What Could Be the Cause of a Swollen Jaw?

Posted on 10/20/2016 by Alyssa O'Steen
A woman suffering from a swollen jaw!
A swollen jaw can be extremely uncomfortable. It can also be the result of any number of issues. In some instances, swelling is normal, but if it lasts too long, something needs to be done.

Facial Trauma

A facial injury can occur due to any number of incidences - an auto accident, a fall, a hit to the face, a fracture. Being hit with such force, it's understandable that swelling occurs, but it shouldn't last for more than a few days.

An infection can occur in your tooth, your gums or even the jawbone itself. It can cause both pain and swelling, and should be taken care of right away. Left untreated, an infection can enter your blood stream and travel to other parts of your body, and cause dangerous health conditions along the way like heart attack and stroke.


When your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is irritated and inflamed, it can lead to a condition known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD). This condition not only causes swelling, but can also be the cause of facial pain and difficulty eating and speaking. You may even experience clicking and popping while you eat and your jaw could potentially lock open.

Oral Surgery

Swelling is inevitable with oral surgery, from a tooth extraction to reconstruction. It usually peaks after three or four days and should start to subside on its own.

What Can You Do?
When faced with swelling in the jaw, there are several things you can do at home to alleviate it. Ice can be quite effective. Wrap an ice pack, or a bag of frozen vegetables, in a dish towel and apply it to the area for fifteen minutes. Then leave it off for fifteen minutes and repeat.

Keeping your head elevated can also help swelling go down. Or, you can make a salt water solution and rinse your mouth. The salt can help reduce swelling and prevent infection, or help to draw out a forming infection.

Under some circumstances, swelling is completely normal. But if it doesn't go away after a few days, is accompanied by a lot of pain, or you suspect an infection, it is important to contact our office right away.

Dr. Shillingburg and the amazing team at DFW Oral Surgeons are proud to provide exceptional care, including wisdom teeth removal, dental implants, and many other services to residents in and around Argyle, Bartonville, Highland Village, Lantana, Double Oak, South Denton, Denton County, and surrounding areas. Not only has Dr. Shillingburg won best Oral Surgeon of Denton County in 2017 and 2018. He has over 10 years of experience treating patients in his state-of-the-art outpatient surgery center in Flower Mound, TX.

John C. Shillingburg, DDS

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Certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
Best of Denton County 2019 Committed to Community Excellence - DFW Oral Surgeons Dr. John Shillingburg is proud to be a native Texan. After graduating from Texas A&M with a bachelor's degree in Biomedical Science and from the University of Texas Dental School in San Antonio with a doctorate degree in dental science, Dr. Shillingburg completed a general dentistry residency at Fort Carson in Colorado. Read more.

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