Jaw Swelling

Top 10 Medical Conditions That Cause Jaw Swelling

There are a large variety of causes that can result in jaw swelling.  It could be the result of physical injury or a medical condition, mild or severe.  If your case is mild, you may just need a cold compress, rest and some vitamin C however, if your condition persist or worsens, you need to seek medical attention.  Below are the top 10 medical conditions that could be causing your jaw swelling.



  1. Salivary Gland Disorder – Swelling occurs because one of the ducts responsible for carrying saliva from the gland to the mouth becomes blocked.  These glands typically malfunction because of chemotherapy, HIV, Parkinson's disease and certain antidepressants, anti-psychotics, diuretics, antihistamines and sedatives.
  1. Jaw Disorders – There are quite a few jaw disorders that can be the culprits behind jaw swelling. Some common conditions include TJD, jaw fracture, bruxism, jaw clenching, impacted wisdom teeth, periodontal disease, jawbone cancer, tooth abscess and cleft palate.
  1. Bulimia  – This common eating disorder will often cause swelling of the joint.  Bulimia is a disease in which the individual consumes a substantial amount of food and then typically purges or else uses large amounts of diuretics or laxatives to pass the food through their system quickly.  This binge eating is typically the result of a control issue for the individual to control their weight and their life.  Unlike many other conditions that can be prescribed antibiotics, this is a disease that usually requires psychological help.
  1. Mumps – This highly contagious disease is characterized by extreme jaw swelling that is often accompanied by a high fever.  A severe case of the mumps can also cause inflammation of the ovaries, testis or pancreas.  While mumps were an extremely common occurrence years ago, there are not nearly as many outbreaks today.

  1. Oral Cancer – There are 12 different types of oral cancer that can be responsible for jaw swelling including cancer of the mouth, tongue, lip, pharynx, gums, palate, salivary gland, tonsil, parotid gland and sinus.  When cancer spreads, typically it trails through your lymphatic system.  When cancer cells enter into your lymphatic system, they are carried through it by watery fluid cells, referred to as lymph.  Along these channels are bean-shaped, very small organs called lymph nodes which is where the cancer cells typically end up and cause swelling.
  1. Dislocated Jaw – When the bones in your jaw get knocked out of place, it creates not only swelling but also a whole lot of pain.  Interestingly, you can also dislocate your jaw from opening your mouth too wide, yawning or yelling.
  1. Dry Socket – These are traditionally caused by tooth extractions, especially a wisdom tooth or from smoking and oral contraception.  Treatment usually includes socket irrigation, antibiotics, pain relievers and topical anti-inflammatory medicine.
  1. Gnathodiaphyseal Dysplasia – This is a very rare genetic disorder that affects the skeleton.  It is characterized by bowed long bones, fragile bones and frequent jaw bone infections. Gnathodiaphyseal dysplasia often causes permanent jaw deformity because of recurring lesions.
  1. Actinomycosis  - Bacteria is the culprit behind this jaw swelling condition.  Symptoms also include jaw and tooth pain, mouth pus, fever, weight loss and abscess formation.  This is a serious condition that usually needs to be treated with surgical abscess drainage along with antibiotics being taken for sometimes up to one year.  Dental X-rays, sputum tests, pus tests and biopsy tests are needed for diagnosis.
  1. McCune-Albright Syndrome – This genetic condition is characterized by hormone producing problems, skin pigmentation and bone disease, which can cause severe deformities and weakness in the skull.  This condition can also cause increased growth rate and early puberty.  Complications may include ovarian cysts, Cushing's syndrome, acromegaly, bone deformity and rickets.