Hard Lump On Jaw After Tooth Extraction – Osteomyelitis (Cause & Prevention)

After getting your tooth extracted, your gums and jawbone can be sensitive and prone to infection and germs. If you see a hard lump forming on your jaw, it could be because germs were able to attack your already weakened jawbone and multiply, causing an infection called osteomyelitis. It can be prevented by taking antibiotics for a few days after your surgery in consultation with your dentist.

After getting your tooth extracted, you will face some issues which are bound to happen post-surgery, such as swelling and some bearable pain. Your jaw and gums are sensitive for the next 15 days after the surgery and require aftercare.

This postsurgical swelling can be mild or extreme depending on the person but should reduce when taken care of in a week or two.

Swelling shouldn’t last more than two weeks, but if you notice a hard lump forming on your jaw, then there’s a reason to worry. Getting a hard lump on your jaw isn’t normal after a tooth extraction surgery, and this could mean you’ve other issues that need to be looked into.

After effects of tooth extraction

After your tooth extraction surgery, your doctor will provide you with a set of instructions, including what to do, eat, and aftercare tips.

Within 2-3 days of the surgery, your extraction site will start to heal by forming a blood clot, and you’ll notice swelling appearing on your jaw area. This swelling is supposed to subside in a few days, and your healing will continue for two weeks.

Reasons for hard lump on jaw

There could be two major issues for a hard lump formed on your jaw:

  • One such issue is cancer and the lump formed due to it. It can be caused due to various factors, which we shall discuss later on. But it’s operatable though the kind of treatment will depend on your current situation.
  • Osteomyelitis is another issue that is described as an infection in a bone. Now, this is the kind of infection that can happen after tooth extraction that forms a hard lump on your jaw. It affects about two in every 10,000 people and can occur on any bone of the body, but in this case, it could be on your jawbone.

Osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis is an infection in a bone and can occur in infants, children, and adults. Although it mainly occurs at the end of long bones of the arms and legs, affecting the hip, knees, shoulders, and wrists, it can also happen in your jawbone.

Causes of osteomyelitis

There are various reasons why you could have developed osteomyelitis. Infections can reach a bone by traveling through the bloodstream or spreading from nearby tissue. Infections can begin in the bone if an injury exposes the bone to germs.

  1. Bloodstream: germs in other parts of your body can travel through your bloodstream to a weakened spot in a bone.
  2. Injuries: severe puncture wounds can carry germs deep inside your body. If an injury becomes infected, the germs can spread into a nearby bone.
  3. Surgery: direct contamination with germs can occur during surgeries to replace joints or repair fractures.

Tooth extraction causing osteomyelitis (hard lump)

There could be different reasons for tooth extraction. One such reason is getting your wisdom tooth removed as thousand of people do because it starts causing a problem.

While most people don’t face any issue besides a bit of swelling post-surgery, one such case where a 24-year-old woman developed a hard lump is one of the rare cases.

In this particular rare case, this woman got her wisdom tooth extraction and soon after started developing a hard lump. In the beginning, it was pretty small and would only cause pain when touched. But with time, doctors could not detect the problem, and the hard lump grew in size and made her everyday life full of turmoil.

If a wisdom tooth is extracted and its roots are very deep, the jawbone becomes more sensitive. It gives the bacteria a chance to easily travel down to the bone, causing infection and forming a hard lump (osteomyelitis).

Preventing hard lump after tooth extraction

A woman is having a followup meeting with her oral surgeon a few days after her tooth extraction.

If you’re getting your tooth extracted, your dentist should also prescribe you antibiotics. They can also prescribe you some medicated rinse before or at the time of your tooth extraction.

If any such antibiotic is not prescribed, there’s a higher chance of your extraction site contracting germs and getting osteomyelitis.

If antibiotics are not provided, nothing prevents bacteria from attacking your now weakened jawbone and multiplying at the site.

Other precautions:

  • What you can do to prevent this hard lump from forming in the first place is to be mindful of your injuries and the possibility of getting infected.
  • If you’ve been told you have an increased risk of infection, then immediately talk to your doctor and take the necessary step to prevent osteomyelitis from happening.
  • Take precautions to avoid any injuries. Even if you do get them clean the area immediately to prevent it from getting infected.

Cancer

Cancerous lumps can form along your jawbone, forming this feel-hard lump. This lump won’t be tender or painful to touch. Although these cancerous lumps are more commonly formed in older adults, they can appear at any age.

Cancer can cause a lump to form on your jaw in several ways:

  • By affecting a nearby organ, such as the mouth, throat, thyroid, or salivary glands
  • By spreading from a different organ to the lymph nodes
  • Through nonmelanoma skin cancer
  • Through sarcoma or lymphoma

If this hard lump turns out to be a cancerous tumor, your doctor will recommend various options to get it treated, such as chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery to remove the lump. Your current situation and health will determine which option will be best for you.

FAQs

How long does hard swelling last after tooth extraction?

After the surgery of tooth extraction, your swelling must disappear and slowly subside within a week. Your doctor will give you a set of instructions for aftercare, including how to treat the swelling. If you follow the aftercare, then swelling will disappear soon.

What are the signs of infection after tooth extraction?

* Continuous throbbing
* Throbbing pain which doesn’t go away even after medication
* Increased swelling of the jaw and surrounding area
* Oozing discharge or formation of pus
* Lumps forming that could be hard or soft in nature
* A persistent fever

What are the symptoms of a jaw bone infection?

* Fever
* Jaw pain
* Facial swelling
* Tenderness to touch
* Sinus drainage
* Jaw stiffness
* Tooth loss
* Pus

Does jaw infection show up on an x-ray?

Dental X-rays can show diseases of the mouth, including teeth and gums. These diseases can cause severe conditions that can cause more problems with a person’s health if not treated within the right time.

These diseases include an abscessed tooth, infection at the root of a tooth, infection between the gums and a tooth.

Is it okay to extract a tooth while swollen?

If your jaw or the surrounding area is already swollen before the tooth extraction surgery, your dentist will not recommend or perform the surgery.

You clearly have other issues which need solving before tooth extraction can take place. You could have an infection that, if tampered with, can cause more problems. So, your swelling would be diagnosed and solved before surgery can be done.

To summarize

When you get your tooth extracted, the after-effects of post-surgery include swelling and some bearable pain that goes away in a few days. But in rare cases, germs can attack your now weakened jawbone (due to surgery) and cause the formation of a hard lump (osteomyelitis).

Formation of the hard lump can only be prevented if your dentist provides you with antibiotics or some medicated rinse after your surgery. If you see a hard lump forming on your jaw after your tooth extraction, you should immediately visit your doctor to see if it’s osteomyelitis. Delaying the process will only make things more painful for you.