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

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

Realizing you have a hard lump on the jawline can cause much fear since some lumps are associated with cancer. I once had the problem but it went away after a few days without treatment. I did not bother to for seek medical attention. But now, I feel I should have, since some of the problem’s causes can be serious. Anyway, I got well. Do not do the same thing.

If you have never had them, these lumps on jawline (common on lower jaw line) can be small or big, fixed or movable, painless or painful, hard or be made of a soft tissue. Furthermore, they could be anywhere along your jawline. For instance one can have a lump on jawline near or under your ear, on the left or right jaw line (i.e. lump on either side of jaw line), near the chin, under the jawline or above it, etc.

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 on jawline:

I have a hard lump right under my jaw line

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“I have a grape sized lump a little bit below my jaw line. 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!”

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”.

What is this swollen spot under my jawline?

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“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 of lump under jaw line (bump on jaw line)

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

1. Salivary glands problems

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One of the possible causes of a lump on the jawline 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”.

Depending on the particular gland affected, you can have lumps under jaw line, near the ears or chin. For instance, you are likely to have lump below jawline if you have a problem with your submandibular glands. See the image on salary gland locations

Besides being infected, fully or partially blocked salivary glands around your jaw line i.e. blocked (salivary stones) or malfunctioning salivary glands, can result to a hard lump on jawline that are painless

Unfortunately, when these glands are enlarged but painless, it is not good 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 a lump on your jaw line. When you have it, it will make your salivary glands to enlarge, resulting in a large lump on your jaw line, which is painless.

2. Swollen lymph node

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The second and a more likely cause of bump on jaw line 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 enlarged, 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, etc, your jaw and neck nodes will be affected. See above photo on lymph nodes of the head and neck for exact locations. Furthermore, infections around your mouth, teeth, gums, tongue, can also make lymph nodes around that area to be swollen.

To further illustrate the problem, while answering to a question on “small movable lump under my ear on jaw line and painful burning ear all on the same side”, Dr. Deepashree suggests the possibility of it being caused by an infected lymph node near the ears.  Treatment of a swollen lymph node is mainly by antibiotics. Painkillers might be recommended in case it is sore.

Finally, a possible cause of lump on jaw line, related to lymph nodes is lymphoma or cancer of lymph nodes. In most instances, “cancerous nodes are non painful, fixed in place (not able to be moved around with pressure) and are slowly growing in size”.

3. Cysts

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If you have a hard pea sized lump on your jawline, it could be a cyst. Cysts are closed capsule or sac-like structures, typically filled with liquid, semisolid or gaseous material – very much like a blister. Cysts occur within 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.

There are different types of cysts that 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

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After wisdom tooth extraction, some people end up with a lump on their jaw line. This could be related to the extraction process or fighting of infection after tooth removal. These lumps often disappear after sometime.

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

5. Juvederm injections

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If you went to juvederm injections to fill your jawline and cheeks, they can result to some lumps along the areas where you had the injections i.e. lump near jaw line or on the jawline itself.

Normally, tenderness and swelling within the first or second week is expected on the affected areas.

However, if it persists, see your juvederm expert for smoothing off and massage. This will help get rid of the lump in cheek or jaw line.

6. Abscessed tooth

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Going on with possible causes of lump on jawline, 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’’.

You will know that your bump on jaw line 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”. These abscesses are painful due to the buildup of pus and the pain can be described as sharp, shooting and growing pain and can accompanied with facial swelling.

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

7. Lump on jaw line cancer

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An irregular, painless and hard lump on jawline could be due to cancer. Normally, 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 highly treated if diagnosed early.  A biopsy might be necessary to be certain whether or not it is cancerous.

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

8. Facelift surgery

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If you recently had a facelift surgery and you have lumps along jawline, this surgery 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”.

Whereas such lumps on jaw line 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, therapeutic ultrasound procedure to break the scar tissue may be recommended.

9. Other possible causes of lump on your jaw line

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

Lump on jawline near ear

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A lump on jawline by ear or lump on jaw line under 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.

Lump midway between ear and chin or a lump on jaw line near chin is due to submandibular and submental lymph nodes or sublingual and submandibular salivary glands.

I hope the issue of lump on jaw line in front of ear is clear.  However, for the case of lump on neck, we will cover it on a different post.

Painful lump on jaw line

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

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

Furthermore, acne, especially cystic jaw line acne could also be responsible for the sore lump on jaw line. However, you are unlikely to have a painful lump in jaw line if you have cancer or cysts. However, cancer lumps can be painful in case of  hemorrhage occurring into a necrotic center in case of a malignant node.

Movable lump on jaw line

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

Such a lump could be hard or soft on both your jaw lines or one jaw line (i.e. along left or right jaw line).

Large or small lump under jaw line

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

Hard lump on jawline

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Just by saying you have a soft or a hard lump under the jawline is not sufficient to know its cause i.e. it will not be easy to determine the actual cause of such a bump or lump.This is because a hard lump under jaw line 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”.  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 jawline. As already mentioned, size cannot be used to determine the cause.

See an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist

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We have looked at some of the possible causes of jawline lumps. 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.