What is jaw swelling?

Jaw swelling is a symptom characterized by a swelling that results in the jaw becoming larger than normal or a lump developing on the jaw. Jaw swelling may occur for many reasons that lead to accumulation of fluid in the skin above the jaws or inflammation of the jaws.

Mild jaw swelling, which could be caused by a recent injury or surgery, may heal on its own or improve with home treatment such as over-the-counter pain medication, anti-inflammatory medication, or cold compresses. If swelling is painful or bothersome, however, professional medical care may be necessary.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if your symptoms of jaw swelling or those of someone you are with, are accompanied by sudden swelling of the face, lips or tongue; a rash; or respiratory or breathing problems such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, labored breathing, wheezing, not breathing, or choking, as these may be signs of a severe allergic reaction. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, develop a high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit) and painful swelling of the jaws, as your symptoms may be related to mumps, a serious viral disease, or another serious infection.

If you have a firm, inexplicable lump on the jaw or if your jaw swelling is persistent or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with jaw swelling?

Jaw swelling may accompany other symptoms which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.... Read more about jaw swellingsymptoms

CAUSES

What causes jaw swelling?

Jaw swelling is often caused by underlying issues with the teeth, such as dental caries or a tooth abscess. Jaw swelling can also arise from dermatological (skin) conditions, such as excessive oil accumulation, which can lead to acne; a cyst (a benign sac that contains fluid, air, or other materials); skin infections; or skin growths, such as keloids, which develop when scars form excess tissue. Other causes of jaw swelling include recent surgery or injury.... Read more about jaw swellingcauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles


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