What Does It Mean When The Left Side Of Your Jaw Hurts

Pain in your jaw is never a welcome arrival, and you might be worried if you find one side of your jaw hurting. You might be concerned that there's a serious problem, but chances are it's nothing to worry about — that said, you may decide to see your doctor if the pain doesn't go away.

Your first thoughts might be along the lines of toothache, a cavity, or something similar, but one thing jaw pain can signify is the early stages of a heart attack. This is rare but does occasionally occur, and it's more likely in women. However, somebody having a heart attack would likely have other symptoms too, like chest pressure or pain or heartburn, indigestion, or shortness of breath (via Healthline).

More than likely, your pain on the left side of your jaw will be down to something else — it could be sinusitis, which is when your nasal cavities get inflamed and will sometimes occur after a cold, or yes, dental problems. Your jaw pain might be caused by a cavity, an abscessed tooth, or even tooth grinding in your sleep (via Healthline).

Jaw pain probably isn't anything serious

Something else that can cause pain on the left side of your jaw are TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders. These conditions affect the join connecting your jaw and skull — there's a disk that separates the bones in this joint, and when it moves you can feel pain around your jaw, sometimes along earache and pain when chewing or eating (via Mayo Clinic).

Then, there are some altogether more uncommon potential causes of pain on the left side of your jaw. There's trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic condition that's caused by pressure put on the trigeminal nerve — it appears most often in women over 50, with severe pain on one side of your face — but can sometimes be treated with prescription medication. Osteomyelitis is another possibility. It's a bone infection that occurs when bacteria enters the bone and could be the result of a dental surgery or injury. It's a serious condition, potentially causing bone death, but antibiotics can help at least to some extent (via Healthline). 

While pain on the left side of your jaw probably isn't anything to seriously worry about, it's worth getting it checked — even if just to put your mind at rest.