A lump on the jawline will rarely go unnoticed. While it may not be painful, it is likely that you will discover it soon after it has developed.
Most causes of lumps on the jawline are not serious and will resolve without treatment. It is important however to know the exact cause of such lumps. Preferably, go for a medical diagnosis. This article discusses the common causes of lumps on the jawline, symptoms and available treatment options.
Common causes of lump on jawline
Lymph nodes are located throughout your body. In areas such as the groin, armpits, neck, under the chin and behind the ears, they occur in large groupings. Normally, you can feel them under your skin as small, fixed, pea-sized lumps. Lymph nodes swell when your body is fighting a disease or an infection. A swollen lump on the jawline can, for example, develop when you have a sore in your mouth.
Swollen lymph nodes are usually painful but resolve once the infection or disease is healed. Other than under the chin, an infection in the mouth area can also cause a lump near the esophagus and behind the ears.
A healthy person has three main salivary glands:
- Parotid gland – it is the main salivary gland located in front of ears on either side of the mouth.
- Submandibular gland – located under jawline just below ears
- Sublingual gland – located above jawline at the base of your chin
Normally, you cannot feel these glands. A lump or a mass that forms on a salivary gland can be felt however. Such a lump can be caused by infections, cysts and salivary gland stones. Infections will in most cases cause a painful swelling. Cysts are normally painless but may be painful when formed on these glands. Salivary gland stones feel like hard lumps under your jawline or near your chin. Cancerous tumors can also be causing the lump.
Cysts are of different types and common causes of lumps near the chin. A cyst that originates in hair follicles or oil glands is known as a sebaceous cyst. It can form a soft or hard lump under the skin. Other than along the jawline, a hard lump on the forehead due to a sebaceous cyst is a common condition. Cystic acne is very common in the chin area. It is a severe type of acne that doesn’t respond to OTC removal products. You can also have cysts along the jawline that have originated inside mouth. The main difference between a cyst and a malignant tumor is that the former grows slowly while the latter grows gradually and indefinitely.
There are a number of dental conditions that can result in a lump along jawline or near chin. For example, a tooth abscess will not only cause swelling but may also initiate swelling of lymph nodes. Conditions such as gingivitis may cause swelling of the gums and jawline. Ill-fitting dentals can irritate the gums and jawline to extent of causing swelling.
It is common to have a lump after a tooth extraction. Though the gums are mostly affected, the swelling can extend to the jawline.
Jaw bone growth
This is a rare condition characterized by an overgrowth on the jaw bone. Like other bone growths, it is not painful but can cause a lot of discomfort. Bone growths are not metastatic. This means that a lump on pelvic bone for example will not spread or contribute to formation of another along the jawline.
There are some procedures, which mostly involve surgery, meant to correct the alignment of jawline, chin or face. The jawline can swell after such operations. See your doctor to rule out the possibility of infection.
Cancer tumors near ear and jawline are not very common. They can, however, originate in lymph nodes or salivary glands. See your doctor if a lump persists for more than 2 weeks and keeps gaining mass.
Symptoms of lump on jaw
A lump that moves and is located under the chin is a lymph node. Lymph nodes only swell when fighting an infection or a disease. When swollen, they tend to be painful and firm.
A swollen lump near the ear, under the jawline or near the chin can be caused by a disorder of the salivary glands. It can be accompanied by signs such as less saliva in the mouth, fever and pain.
A hard lump on the jawline under the skin can be a cyst. Cystic lumps are not attached to tissues or bones. Therefore, they move slightly when pressed with a finger. Though most are painless, some, such as a cystic lump behind the earlobe, can cause pain. Cysts don’t disappear unless surgically removed.
A swollen lump accompanied by pain, swelling in gums, fever and sore throat can be a tooth abscess. Other dental issues are also likely to cause swelling in gums.
A hard, painless lump that gradually grows can be a cancer tumor. Since the mouth region contains many nerves and small blood vessels, a growing tumor can press against them and cause pain.
Diagnosis and treatment for lump on jawline
A physical exam will in most cases be performed. Your doctor will also ask several questions about the symptoms you have been having and brief details on your medical history. It will help if you can note down the symptoms when preparing for an appointment. To confirm diagnosis, some imaging tests may be done or biopsy if cancer or infections are suspected.
Treatment depends on diagnosis reports and the cause of the lump. Harmless conditions such as swollen lymph nodes do not require treatment. However, the cause of the swelling needs to be addressed. In fact, swelling of the lymph nodes is a pretty serious sign.
Bothersome cysts require surgical removal. Otherwise, they will always be there. Your doctor can drain them or inject with anti-inflammatory medications. These treatments are only meant to shrink them but not get rid of them.
Tooth abscesses and other infections require treatment with antibiotics. Pain relievers may also be prescribed as part of treatment. If not treated, infections can spread to vital organs such as the brain.
Cancerous tumors are quite hard to treat, especially if discovered in later stages. Common treatment procedures include chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. In most cases, more than one technique will be used. Doctors always encourage people to report cases of lumps on any part of their bodies to their doctors as early as possible.
When to see a doctor for a lump on jawline under skin
Your doctor will not only help you identify the exact cause of a lump on the jawline under the skin but will also suggest the best treatment option available. See your doctor if you:
- Develop fever or other signs of infection
- Have a painful lump that doesn’t improve with pain medications
- Have a lump that persists for more than 2 weeks
- Have a history of cancer
- Can’t seem to find what is causing the lump
Lumps are very common on skin and inside internal organs. There is a lot to be learned on topics relating to lumps. As you may already know, the most common symptom of cancer is the formation of hard, fixed and mostly painless lumps.
While cancer is not the leading killer disease in the world today, it is one of the hardest to treat in its later stages. It isn’t that every lump on your body will be a sign of cancer. In fact, only about 5% of all lumps are cancerous. However, there are many other diseases and conditions that can be as dangerous.
Consider learning more on topics such as what does a lump mean on different parts of your body, when not to worry about a lump, causes of breast lumps and so on. In one way or another, the information will prove of some help.
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