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Swollen Cheeks from Tooth, Glands and Jaw, Eyes, Gum and How to Reduce or Treat It

Why is my cheek swollen, or what causes swollen cheeks? Cheek swelling is a problem that affects both children and adults with a number of causes including infections, tooth problems, trauma, salivary gland infections, and mumps among others. The swelling could be on your inside cheek, on your jaws, neck or even affect eyes. Furthermore, it could be accompanied by a number of symptoms include pain (or no pain), redness, difficulties in chewing, etc. Discover more including treatment and how to reduce cheek swelling.

Cheek swelling refers to enlargement or distention of someone’s cheek and/or lump development that results from “accumulation of fluid in the tissues of the cheeks” [healthgrades.com]. The swelling in the cheek area might be mild, severe, with or without pain i.e. swollen cheek no pain or painful cheek swelling.

Swollen Cheek Causes, Tooth, Jaw, No Pain, Glands, Reduce, Treatment -  Swollen cheek in adults
Swollen cheek in adults

Depending on the cause, you could have cheek swelling on one side (i.e. swollen left cheek or right), lower or upper cheek swelling as well as swollen inside cheek (cheeks swelling inside mouth). Sometimes you may have a swollen cheek and swollen neck, gums, jaws, eyes, lips, glands, face or near ear. The swelling might come with other symptoms such as with rash, redness, fever, sore throat, toothache, gum infection or with a sick feeling. It can affects adults as well as children (infants, toddlers or babies).

Symptoms of cheek swelling including red swollen cheeks

The symptoms that will accompany your cheek swelling will depend on the underlying cause i.e. disorder, disease or condition. Some of the most reported symptoms associated with cheek swelling include hives, rash, cheek redness (red swollen cheeks), face lumps, oily, itchy or dry skin, soreness and pain, fever, itchy eyes, sneezing, breathing problems, numbness (numb jaw and cheek) as well as swelling of other parts of the face including a swollen tongue, eyes or lips.

Swollen cheek causes or why is my cheek swollen? (Left, right or both).

To be able to effectively diagnose, treat, sooth or reduce cheek swelling, you need to know the possible causes of this problem. Of course, there are many cheek swelling causes with the most common ones being:

1. Swollen cheek from tooth especially wisdom teeth

Swollen cheek from tooth is one of the most common causes of not only swelling on cheeks (on the side of tooth problem) but also a swollen face and cheek bones or jaws. Toothache, tooth abscess, impacted 3rd molar, tooth decay or swollen cheek from tooth infection) are known to cause this problem.  Poor oral hygiene (not flossing and brushing twice a day) and eating sugary foods can lead to plague formation on your teeth.

When bacteria acts on the plague layer on your teeth, it feeds on the sugars while it produces acids that will corrode your tooth enable leading to tooth decay.

 Swollen cheek wisdom tooth

One of the most common cause of cheek swelling from tooth is wisdom teeth problems owing their location. Infections, abscessed tooth, injuries (chipping or breakages) can often result in wisdom teeth cheek swelling.

Tooth abscess swollen cheek or cheek abscess

A Swollen cheek from abscess tooth is a possible phenomenon. According to webmd.com, “an abscessed tooth is a painful infection at the root of a tooth (center of the teeth) or between the gum and a tooth” that is commonly caused by a serious tooth decay. It can also be caused by trauma (such as chipped or broken tooth), gum diseases as well as gingivitis. If ignored tooth dental abscess can cause opening in enamels that will make bacteria go to the tooth pulp and spread to the tooth root and jaw bone i.e. swollen jaw from abscessed tooth.

Some of the common symptoms of abscessed tooth include fever, bitter mouth taste, swollen neck glands, game swelling and redness, swollen lower and upper jaw areas, draining sore on side of gum, sensitivity to cold or hot foods , pain when eating or chewing among others.

In case you have an abscessed tooth, seek for medical help from your dentist and try various home remedies we will discuss later to reduce the pain.

Swollen cheek toothache

Toothache caused by any of the problems mentioned including abscessed teeth, tooth infection or decay can also result to enlargement of cheeks especially on the side that has a tooth problem. Usually the cheek swelling is accompanied with some pain from the aching tooth.

Tooth extraction, removal and root canal procedures

Dental work such as tooth extraction (i.e. swollen cheek after tooth extraction especially wisdom tooth), root canal procedure, and dental cosmetic surgery can lead a swelling of cheeks. The swelling, pain and discomfort should disappear after a few days.

2. Trauma, cheek piercing swelling, oral surgery or injuries

Another possible cause of a swollen cheek is injuries, oral surgery or trauma. It is normal to have a swollen cheek and jaw from a punch or being hit by an object, after undergoing oral surgical procedure, after rhinoplasty, cheek piercing, or due to other traumas or injuries on your cheeks. The swelling will be accompanied with pain, bleeding, redness and bruising depending on how much your cheek tissues are damaged or hurt.

Usually, the affected area is the one that will swell i.e. you could have a swollen left cheek or right depending on where the trauma is. The swelling will subside with time. To help reduce the swelling and pain, try various home remedies such as cold compresses or over the counter pain relievers.

3. Mumps infection and swollen parotid glands

At times, “cheek swelling may be related to a condition such as mumps” [healthgrades.com], otherwise known as epidemic parotitis. Beside possible swollen cheek and neck area, this viral infection has other symptoms such “a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, and is followed by swelling of salivary glands” [cdc.gov] i.e. one or both the parotid glands will be swollen. Mumps symptoms will occur after 16-18 days of exposure and they might last up to 7-10 days.

4. Allergic reaction

Allergic reaction to food, pet dander, medications, face makeup,  and other allergens is a possible cause cheek and eyes, nose, face, tongue or lip swelling. Allergic reactions are often accompanied with other symptoms such as hives, itching, a rash, watery eyes, nasal congestion among others.

5. Lymphadenopathy or swollen lymph node cheek

Sometimes you might have swelling cheeks due to swollen lymph nodes in front of your ear. You will tend to have swollen cheeks near the ears as well as neck.  Swollen lymph nodes can be due teeth infection, cancer among other infections.

6. Swollen gland in cheek

Your cheeks could swell due to swollen salivary glands i.e. swollen parotid glands in cheek (in case of swollen cheeks near ear or swollen upper cheek), swollen submandibular glands (if you have swelling on your lower cheeks below or lower jaws or near the jawline), or sublingual glands (which are behind your tongue but in front of submandibular glands).

Swollen salivary glands could be caused by a number of bacterial or viral infections that result to swelling and inflammation. The common causes of salivary gland swelling include HIV, mumps, salivary stones, tumor, Sjogren’s syndrome, malnutrition, influenza A, poor hygiene and dehydration.

Sometimes, when your salivary gland ducts are obstructed by stones or sialolithiasis, you might end up with cheeks that are swollen. This is another cause of swelling of cheek with is associated with salivary glands.

On what to do with swollen salivary glands in cheek, you need to treat the underlying cause. This means you need a diagnosis before medications or treatment options can be explored since there are many causes of inflamed and/or swollen glands.

7. Swollen cheek bone

Sometimes, your cheek swelling could be as a result of swollen cheekbone. You could be suffering from a cheekbones that are swollen from injury (e.g. from a punch), sinus, salivary gland infection, tooth infection, tooth extraction, among other causes. The swelling could be on both sides, one side top or lower jaws and it could be sore and painful or hurt when you lie on the affected side.

8. Swollen cheek due to bulimia nervosa

This is an “eating disorder characterized by binge eating and purging, or consuming a large amount of food in a short amount of time followed by an attempt to rid oneself of the food consumed (purging)” [Wikipedia.org] mainly through vomiting, excessive exercise, use of laxative diuretic, since the victim is so much concerned with weight gain.

The uncontrollable rapid eating, gastric reflux after eating tend to erode teeth, cause swollen salivary glands and cheeks i.e. “swollen cheeks and salivary glands” [helpguide.org]. Behavioral change, antidepressants, physiological therapies and stress management can help deal with bulimia.

9. Other possible causes of swollen cheek include

  • Cystic acne – cystic acne on your cheeks can make your cheeks to swell especially on the side of cheek that has cystic acne.
  • Boils or skin abscess – These are “localized infection in the skin that begins as a reddened, tender area.” [medicinenet.com] that result to formation of pus under the skin.
  • Skin growth and keloids – keloids are formed from excess scar tissue formation and they are usually painless. Other growths can also make your cheeks to swell (and be either painful or without pain).
  • Cellulitis – This is a common bacterial skin infection that makes the skin to swell, become red, and feel tender and warm (or hot). Cellulitis on your cheek can make it swell.
  • Sinus swelling in cheek – Some times, serious sinusitis especially maxillary sinusitis might result in a swelling on cheeks. This will accompanied with symptoms such as cheekbone pain, tender, swollen and red cheekbone, nasal discharge and fever.
  • Side effects of some medication e.g. some people have swollen cheek and gums after novocaine (novacain).
  • Ingrown hairs
  • Rosacea
  • Sebaceous cysts
  • Seborrhea
  • Salivary glands, oral or skin cancer
  • Malnutrition
  • Hereditary angioedema
  • Burns
  • Canker sores on your inner cheek

Swollen inside cheek, inner cheek swelling or swollen cheeks inside mouth

Swollen inside cheek
Swollen inside cheek

Sometimes, you might have swollen inside cheek or inner cheek swelling. This can be caused by most of causes we have already mentioned such as tooth problems (decay and infection), canker sores, swollen salivary glands, mouth sores, cheek biting, trauma, infections (bacterial or viral), tooth abscess, lymph node problems (especially the preauricular, submandibular lymph nodes and tonsilar), mumps, among other causes.

Furthermore, various procedures such as tooth feeling, oral surgery, tooth extraction, cheek piercing, among others can also result in swollen cheek inside mouth especially the surrounding tissue.

Cheek swollen from inside of mouth can affect children (toddlers or babies) as well as adults and it can make the cheeks numb, extend to your jaws, or be near your wisdom teeth (in case of wisdom tooth extraction or infections). Treatment for swollen inner cheek will depend on the underlying cause.

Swollen cheek and gums

Swollen cheek and gums could be due to any of the causes mentioned such as infected tooth (tooth abscess or tooth decay), tooth extraction (especially wisdom tooth), after root canal, blunt trauma, oral cancer, etc.

Furthermore, gum problems especially gingivitis, teething syndrome, herpes stomatitis, parulis, periodontal disease, malnutrition, badly fitting dentures, as well as other viral or fungal infections. Furthermore, pericoronitis (a dental disorder that makes gum tissue around wisdom teeth, to be swollen) has been found to result into a swollen gum and cheek.

The cheek swelling and gums (or swollen between cheek and gum) could cause a numbing feeling, be sore and make chewing painful (swollen cheek gum pain) and difficult. To  reduce swelling in cheek from gum infection, try sucking ice (cold compress), use over the counter anti-inflammatory medication, swishing sea salt and water mixture as well as treat the underlying cause (disease or condition).

Child swollen cheek (children, toddlers, and babies)

Swollen Cheeks from Tooth, Glands and Jaw, Eyes, Gum and How to Reduce - Baby with red swollen cheek
Baby with red swollen cheek

In children, this problem can be due to bone fracture, allergic reaction, infection, infected salivary glands, tooth abscess, after teeth filling,  some gum infections, mumps among other infections. The swelling might make the cheeks red, cause tooth pain, and it could also extend to the jaws and neck depending on the cause.

Swollen cheek and jaw

A swollen cheek and jaw including jawline or neck area can be caused by any of the causes of cheek swelling we have already discussed. It could be accompanied with pain or no pain or cause numbness depending on underlying cause.

Common causes include blunt trauma, dental works, oral surgery, corrective jaw surgeries, chin surgery, tooth problems, salivary gland infections among others. They could affect both your cheeks and jaws, right or left jaws.

Swollen cheek and eye

Sometimes cheek swelling can be accompanied with swollen eyes i.e. swollen cheek and eye (either right or left cheek and swollen under eyes or eyelids) especially if caused by allergies. However, eye problems such as swollen eyes can also cause swelling on cheeks.  Ensure you get the right diagnosis.

Swollen cheek no pain, cheek swelling and pain

Not all edemas are accompanied with pain always. It is normal to cheek swelling with no pain or mild pain or slight pain. A painless cheek swelling could be on either your inner cheek, upper or lower cheek. Sometimes, cysts, dental abscess, allergic reactions, swelling due to malnutrition, etc. might not cause any pain.

However, in some instances, swelling is accompanied with some pain (red inflamed cheeks that are swollen). In such a case, you need to go for the over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs as well as apply cold compresses to reduce inflammation and swelling.

Swollen cheek treatment or how to treat

Swollen cheek treatment option will depend on the underlying cause. In case you do not know it, you should seek medical attention for diagnosis and prescription of the right medications. Common treatments for swelling of cheeks include:

  • Drugs and medicines – These might include antibiotics, antivirals, anti-inflammatory (over the counter) or other prescribed medications depending on what is behind your swelling whose intention is to reduce pain and offer swollen tooth infection treatment (if infected)
  • Antihistamines – if your swelling is caused by an allergic reaction, you need to use antihistamines and avoid the allergens.
  • Home remedies – you can also try a number of home remedies to reduce swelling and sooth the swelling. We will cover home remedies while looking at how to reduce cheek swelling.

How to reduce cheek swelling – Effective and fast remedies

Besides treatments, there are other cheek swelling home treatment or remedies that can help treat mild infections, reduce pain and prevent any further infections especially while the infections are still in their early stages.  Some of these treatments will be good for people with swollen teeth from toothache, oral surgery, after wisdom tooth removal, after piercing, from blunt trauma, among other causes.

Cold compress or warm compresses

For mild swelling caused by trauma such as dental work (root canal, tooth extraction, teeth filling, rhinoplasty, oral surgery, piercing, blunt trauma, etc.), you can apply warm or cold compresses.

For cold compress, use of ice or cold compress will also cause a numbing effect that will alleviate pain and discomfort. Do not apply ice directly, wrap it in a piece of clean cloth or buy ice packs to avoid tissue damage. Let the compress remain in place for 20 minutes.

1. Applying potato slices

Apply potato slices on your cheek for 15-20 minutes, 2-3 times a day.  This will help reduce pain and swelling.

2. Eat soft food, avoid hot beverages and reduce salt intake

Eating crisps or hard foods might exert pressure on your tooth and worsen the cheek swelling. Instead eat soft foods. Furthermore, do not take hot beverages. Too much salt intake can cause face and cheek swelling.

3. Other ways to reduce or get rid of cheek swelling

  • Keep good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing your teeth to remove any food particles trapped on your teeth. This will reduce chances of teeth infection or decay that can cause a swollen cheek.
  • Rinse your mouth with a mixture of warm water and sea salt (1/2 teaspoon in 8 ounces of water).

When to see a doctor

If you have severe and sudden cheek swelling that comes with swollen lips, face or tongue as well as severe breathing difficulties (including labored breathing, wheezing, choking, breath shortness), ensure you see a doctor or seek for emergency treatment since such a case may be as a result of serious allergic reaction that could be life threatening.

Sources and references

About Vladmir Kucherov

32 comments

  1. That first picture you have of the “Adult with swollen left cheek” is not. It’s some guy from Yemen chewing a native drug called gat. All that in his cheek is a handful of leaves they chew to get high. Just look up “yemeni chewing gat” Probably wanna change that.

    • Thank you for your observation. I will change it.

      • Deirdre O'Malley

        But that is EXACTLY what my cheek looks like, and I chew nothing. I don’t know what I have, thought it was a bug bite the first time. Now it’s happened 5 times and I don’t know why.

  2. I was glad to see this link and read the information on here. My daughter is 2 & is going through something. Her left cheek is red & has large swelling, it’s hard where then infection is & hot.
    We were sent to a hospital where they diagnosed her with mumps but no tests were done. That night when we returned home, she broke out in hives and they come steady and go all in different areas of her body from head to toe.
    It’s day 3 today for her and it seems like night time is when her hives increase. She had bloodwork yesterday and a swab done to see what’s going on. The doctors are thinking viral.

  3. hi , i wanted a little help from you i have read the article but have a quick question to ask . My mother’s cheek is swallowed from inside not outside and it is also painless but its growing do you have a home remedy or any remedy for this or can you suggest any doctor like endocrinologist etc. Thanks

    • Since it is growing, I would not wish to recommend or speculate anything. Kindly let your mother checked by a dentist to determine the cause. Do not go for home remedies or ignore it.

  4. I have a bump on my lower jawline and the tooth right before my bottom wisdom teeth is broken at the gum line and I t has a hole a deep hole but I don’t have any pain yet do u think the bump is related to my broken tooth

    • Unless you have an abscessed teeth, the bump does not seem related to your broken teeth. See a dentist for diagnosis

    • did you ever find out why your lower jawline got swollen? I seem to have the exact same situation and same broken tooth as you…how long did it take for the swelling to go away?

  5. My daughter woke up with her cheek and top lip swollen I gave her benadryl and it went down but now its back she has no pain or breathing problems normally we would be in the emergency room right now but we can’t get a ride till morning not sure what to do

  6. Please help! I woke up few mornings ago with a swollen right cheeks. I later went to my doctor that evening when I noticed that the swollen was increasing and he gave me some antibiotics drugs to take. .but the swollen is still there. What should I do? Please help.

  7. My boyfriend recently had his left cheek swell up and we think it might be an infectes hair or pore. its not going down with ice or hot rag presses. It as feel and looks like its full of liquid. there is slight redness by a dew dumps too. also he said its painful yet numb…any info or advise? Thanks!

  8. Please help…
    I went for tooth cementing of my premolar but with time i got a wound between the cemented tooth and the one which is okay so that wound doesnt pain me alot but the area under my right cheek bone started swelling and i started taking antibiotics now the wound is soon healing because it nolonger bleeds like before but with the cheek i dont see any change of getting back to its normal position..i have the pictures of my condition any doc send me your email i sent them to you if i have not explained well.
    What could be the problem..?????

  9. Comment:my chick is swelling with a pimplr .first day the pain occurs.next day pause rrmoving.and now also chick is sweeling .what can I do sir.what type of disease is this.

    • The pimple may have been infected or you might have tried to pop it before it had ripened. See a dermatologist or a doctor for help.

  10. Thank you. My lips aregoing numb and my jaw looks like a golf ball is in my mouth. My cheek is also red. Im freaking out. Is the numbness normal? I broke a tooth is whY im assuming my whole jaw and lip are swollen and becoming numb. Hiw can i stop this?

    • Hi Shery, see a dentist to check if your broken tooth has been infected and causing the swelling and numbness.

  11. Hi, thanks for site. I have swollen cheek/jawline which is red and itchy. It seems to be spreading under my chin.
    This was initially very painful and doc treated with antibiotics for swollen lymph nodes, but instead of clearing it has slowly moved under my chin. I had root canal about 4 months ago and tooth and gum not painful. Did not get crown on the tooth. Any idea what this swelling could be caused by?
    Thanks

  12. Hello hopefully someone can help I had a small lump on check jaw area went to dentist who said it was from a tooth in fection she removed my molar on the right side also said I have chronic tooth decay! Well the lump went from soft and the size of a marble to now hard and size of a golf ball chewing hurts a lot and the lump is hard but very sore! Is this normal or should I be going to get it checked had my tooth pulled on Friday today is Sunday?any advice will help worried it can be serious. Thanks for your time

  13. anand

    i have swelling on my cheeks for last four weeks now, and is hardened, here are he details of the treatment so far :

    It started with swelling on the gums on the right side which my family physician tried to treat with antibiotics, but did not help, hence referred to dentist , the dentist after an opg x ray detected tooth no 3 & 4 and completed the root canal procedure, however the swelling did not reduce as there was not enough drain from the infected teeth,

    i was then referred to a dental surgeon who made an incision in the gum to drain the pus but he partly succeeded as part of the swelling remained as it has hardened. a biopsy was conducted and non malignant was observed.
    in the mean time the swelling has not reduced, it has reached bottom of eyelid and nose bridge
    current advise is wait and watch or go for major surgery, the gland near the right year is swollen but the e.n.t. surgeon opined there is no link
    i am feeling lot of discomfort and is worried as no exact cause is pin pointed for the condition
    i had been on antibiotics augmentin 625 mg twice a day for last fifteen days, currently i am on flamzen 10 mg twice a day .to help t o reduce swelling of the gland near the ear

    request advise future course of action, i am 71 yr old male

  14. I have left bottom cheek chronic swelling for 4 years now . Chronic pain and swellling started after breaking my jaw with operation. THe pain and swelling is always their ,

  15. Thank u. One of my ancestors was suffering from swollen cheeks.

  16. Hi can you help me? I have a swollen right cheek. And it feels like something is inside my mouth in the side of the cheek. It’s like a bone or something. And when i face the right side i will feel the pain like it’s swelling. I don’t know what to do with it. My face is not good because the right cheek is big than my left 😢

  17. Hi can u please help me.Suddenly swelling appeared on my left cheek,it doesn’t pain or isn’t even red and I’m having no swelling in other parts of my face..no problem in chewing also..plus not been punched by someone too.it just appeared suddenly in the afternoon out of nowhere..please help me the cause for swelling is unknown and doesn’t really fit with all stuff in the article so I’m a bit confused,should I go visit the doctor or try something to stop the swelling..thanks

  18. Janeisha jones

    Hi I need someone help for the last past 3months now I been feeling a drainage of pus coming from my left jaws inside my mouth and every time I take a swollen of my sailvia I feel something traveling from my jaw line down my throat it’s very uncomfortable Im very nervous right now I wish it would just go away I went to the emergency yesterday they have me on amoxicillin and Clavulanate potassium 875/125mg I hope I heal up …….

  19. hi pls help me about my swollen cheek it started on 2days i feel a little bit pain in my upper teeth and on tge 3rd day i notice that its swollen but theres no pain i can brush properly,i can eat properly.until now still swollen i dont know what to do.

  20. I had a jaw operation 26 years ago. The upper jaw was been moved back. Since then my left side is swollen.My whole self confidece is broken down. Because I lost my parents when I was a little girl, the psyciatrist blame the pain and swelling on emotional problems. Some days the pain is better than other days. But the swelling stay constant…….I only want to have s similar face!!!

  21. Hi ,
    Im 29 years old. I have puffy cheeks on one side. ie my right cheek is puffy(swollen).Its there from my birth. No pain at all . but it looks odd. chkecked with a dentist (took a oral scanOPG). they said its just bulgy but cant determinse the cause.

    can u tell me which specialist to consult and what kind of treatment is required

  22. My inner cheeks back by where my wisdom teeth used to be swell up after eating. After an hour or so the swelling goes down without doing anything.

  23. Hi, please help. My inner cheek is swollen near my jaw and it goes near my inner chin too, it looks like i stored a small fish ball on my left inner cheek near my jaw and one of my tooth is loose near the area. Also when I touch my cheek from the outside, there is a bump, not quite hard but it’s there right near my jaw where it meets my chin. What is this? Can anyone tell me? I’m scared that it’s more than just a regular toothache or swelling

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