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Lump on Jawline, Hard, Movable, Painful Near Ear, Small or Large Bump

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Why do I have a lump on my jawline? Are they due to cancer, salivary glands problem, swollen lymph nodes or cysts? Well, if you have lumps that are often hard but at times soft, near your ear or chin, painful or painless, you are on the right page!

Painful, swollen jawline lump due to an tooth problem
Painful, swollen jawline lump due to an abscessed tooth

Realizing you have a hard lump on the jawline can cause much fear since some it is often associated with cancer. I once had the problem, but it went away after a few days without treatment. I did not bother seeking medical attention.

However, now, I feel I should have since some of the some of the lumps causes can be serious. Anyway, I got well. Do not do the same thing.

If you have never had them, them (common on lower jawline) can be small or big, fixed or movable, painless or painful, hard or be made of soft tissue.

Furthermore, they could be anywhere along your jawline. For instance, one can have one near or under your ear, on the left or right jawline (i.e., lump on either side), near the chin, under the jawline or above it, etc.

Lump under jawline cases 

To illustrate or understand what it feels like to have this problem, here is what a few people are saying about this problem of bumps or lumps along the jaw lines:

I have a hard lump right under my jawline

“I have a grape sized lump a little bit below my jawline. It's very firm and hard! I went to the doctor a couple weeks ago and he said it could be a swollen gland or another thing so he gave me antibiotics. After I finished them, I didn't think about it much. But now I'm really scared! It's still there! I googled it and a lot talked about cancer! I don't know what to do! I'm only 13 and I'm really scared!” [answers.yahoo.com]

Small, Movable Bump - (Left) Jawline

“I have a small hard lump under my skin along my left jawline. It is not inside the mouth, you can only feel it from the outside. It easily moves from side to side. Sometimes it is smaller (size of a bean) or it can grow larger (size of a large marble). I have found no pattern to when it gets smaller or bigger, only that it does. It does not normally hurt, unless I press on it when it's bigger” - jessicat1206 [forums.webmd.com]

What is this swollen spot under my jawline?

“Right underneath my jaw on the left-hand side, there is a little-swollen bump. Is this a gland? Like maybe the salivary gland? Why would a salivary gland be swollen and what does that mean?”

Causes

There are many causes of lumps under, near or on near jawline. Some of the common causes include the following:

1. Salivary glands problems

One of the possible causes is inflamed, swollen or infected salivary glands.

Ordinarily, these glands cannot be felt from the skin i.e.; they cannot be felt since they are under your skin.

However, sometimes they can “become inflamed or infected and can enlarge to the point where they can be felt. When this occurs, they can also become very painful to the touch” [zocdoc.com].

Depending on the particular gland affected, you can have them, near the ears or chin. For instance, you are likely to have lump below your jawline if you have a problem with your submandibular glands.

Besides being infected, wholly or partially blocked salivary glands around your jawline, i.e., blocked (salivary stones) or malfunctioning salivary glands, can result to a hard lump that is painless

Unfortunately, when these glands are enlarged but painless, it is not right to assume that only blockage or malfunction is the cause since it could be something else including salivary gland cancer, which is very rare.

Finally, as already hinted, salivary gland cancer is one of the possible causes. When you have it, it will make your salivary glands to enlarge, resulting in a large lump, which is painless.

2. Swollen lymph node

The second and a more likely cause of bumps on jawline is swollen lymph nodes. Lymph nodes store immune cells that help in fighting infections. When one has an infection, they tend to swell or enlarged while doing their job. Besides being swollen, these nodes can at times be sore.

The swelling and soreness will occur where the lymph node is located. For instance, whenever you have upper respiratory tract infections, such as a sore throat or infections on your eye, neck, sinuses, head, eyes, ears, pharynx, scalp, face, and so on, your jaw and neck nodes will be affected.

In addition, infections around your mouth, teeth, gums, tongue, can also make lymph nodes around that area to be swollen.

To further expand on the problem, while answering to a question on “small movable lump under my ear on jawline and painful burning ear all on the same side” [healthcaremagic.com], Dr. Deepashree suggests the possibility of it arising from an infected lymph node near the ears. Treatment of a swollen lymph node is mainly by antibiotics. Painkillers might be given if it is sore.

Finally, a possible cause, related to lymph nodes is lymphoma or cancer of lymph nodes. In most instances, “cancerous nodes are nonpainful, fixed in place (not able to be moved around with pressure) and are slowly growing in size” [doctorslounge.com].

3. Cysts

If you have a hard pea sized lump on your jawline, it could be a cyst. According to medicalnewstoday.com, “cysts are closed capsules or sac-like structures, typically filled with liquid, semisolid or gaseous material - very much like a blister. Cysts occur within the tissue, and can affect any part of the body.” They are usually painless, slow growing and when rolled under the skin, they are smooth to touch.

Different types of cysts can cause such a hard bump on your jawline. Kindly see a doctor for examination and recommendation on how they can be managed. This will reduce misdiagnosis chances.

4. Lump on jawline after tooth extraction

After wisdom tooth extraction, some people end up with swellings. Such a happening could be related to the extraction process or fighting off infection after tooth removal. These bumps often disappear after some time.

If they persist, go for X-ray or CT scan to ascertain why you ended up with these lump behind jawline after tooth extraction.

5. Juvederm injections

If you went to Juvederm injections to fill your jawline and cheeks, they could result in some bumps along the areas where you had the injections, i.e., lump near or on the jawline itself.

Usually, tenderness and swelling within the first or second week is ok on the affected areas.

However, if it persists, see your Juvederm expert for smoothing off and massage to help get rid of the lump in cheek or jawline.

6. Abscessed tooth

Going on with possible causes, having an abscessed tooth is one of them. “A tooth-related abscess (also called a periapical abscess) occurs inside the tooth. This happens when the tooth's nerve is dead or dying. This type of abscess shows up at the tip of the tooth's root. Then it spreads to the surrounding bone’’ [www.colgate.com].

You will know that your bump on jawline is due to abscessed tooth if you can feel the lump from inside your mouth, even with your finger.

In fact, “an abscess that isn't treated can form a fluid-filled bubble (cyst) in the jaw bone” [www.colgate.com]. These abscesses are painful due to the buildup of pus, and the pain can be described as being sharp, shooting and growing pain. Face swelling may also result.

To avoid the infection from spreading, see a dentist for treatment, which might at times involve surgery.

7.  Cancer

An irregular, painless and hard lump on the jawline could be due to cancer. Typically, when caused by cancer, they tend to grow slowly, won’t go away or heal, are fixed firmly beneath your skin.

If you notice any of the above characteristics, go for diagnosis since most cancers are treatable if diagnosed early.  A biopsy might be necessary to be sure whether or not it is cancerous.

Cancer treatment is by radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, targeted therapy, among others.

8. Facelift surgery

If you recently had a facelift surgery, this operation could be the possible cause, i.e., the hard bumps or lumps could be due to” inflammation around the stitch, scar tissue, a prominent gland or a mere contour irregularity” [healthcare-online.org].

Whereas they might disappear by themselves, if they don’t, correction may be through steroid injections to reduce inflammation and tissue scar formation. In case of tissue scars, a medical practitioner may recommend therapeutic ultrasound procedure to break the scar tissue.

9. Other possible causes

Besides the above, acne or pimples and physical injury can also result to swollen lump on the jawline.

When near the ear

A bump on jawline by the ear or under the ear could be due to parotid glands or tonsillar lymph node problems. These two are just under your ear, with the tonsillar lymph node located just below your parotid glands.

If they are midway between ear and chin or near chin is due to submandibular and submental lymph nodes or sublingual and submandibular salivary glands.

I hope the issue of the lump in front of the ear has been addressed.  However, for the case of lump on neck, we will cover it in a different post.

When painful

Having pain under your jawline right side or left side could be due to an abscessed tooth or a problem with your salivary glands.

Furthermore, a painful lump or sore can also be caused by head and neck lymph node problems, i.e., tonsillar (near ear), submandibular (on the side of your lower jaw) or submental lymph nodes (when it is near your chin).

Furthermore, acne, especially cystic acne could also be responsible for the painful or sore ones.

You are unlikely to have a painful jawline lump if you have cancer or cysts. However, cancerous ones can be painful in case of hemorrhage occurring into a necrotic center in case of a malignant node.

When movable

Apart from the cancerous ones and abscessed tooth, having a salivary gland, lymph node problems or cyst might result into either small or big jawline lump that moves.

Such a lump could be hard or soft on both or one side (i.e., along with the left or right sides).

If large or small 

Having a little or large jawline lump cannot be used to determine the possible cause since even cysts, swollen lymph nodes or salivary glands, abscessed tooth, cancer, etc. can result in big or small ones. You need to look at other possible symptoms including its exact location, whether it is painful or painless, etc.

When Hard to touch

Just by saying you have a soft or a hard bump is not sufficient to know its cause, i.e., it will not be easy to determine the actual cause of such a bump. This is because a hard lump under jawline can be due to most of the causes we have mentioned.

For instance, “stony-hard nodes are typically a sign of cancer, usually metastatic. Very firm, rubbery nodes suggest lymphoma” [doctorslounge.com].  Similarly, a hard bump can be due to any of the other causes.

Of course, you can end up as with a big or small hard lump inside cheek along the jawline. As already mentioned, size cannot be used to determine the cause.

See an Ear, Nose, and Throat, ENT specialist

We have looked at some of the possible causes. If you have such a problem, our best advice is to see an ENT specialist for diagnosis. This will confirm whether or not the bumps on your jawline are caused by anything serious such as cancer.

References and resources

  1. https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20130408202855AABethM
  2. http://forums.webmd.com/3/cold-and-flu-exchange/forum/2711/5
  3. https://www.zocdoc.com/answers/11357/what-is-this-swollen-spot-under-my-jawline
  4. http://www.doctorslounge.com/oncology/forums/backup/topic-19956.html
  5.  http://www.healthcare-online.org/Hard-Lump-on-Jaw-Line.html
  6. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/160821.php
  7. http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/dental-emergencies-and-sports-safety/article/abscess
  8. http://www.healthcaremagic.com/premiumquestions/Suggest-treatment-for-lump-under-ear-on-jaw-line/156027
  9. http://www.doctorslounge.com/oncology/forums/backup/topic-13307.html

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