If you’re suffering from tooth pain, you may be astonished to discover that the source of your ailment could be a sinus infection. While it’s not a common connection, there is an anatomical relationship between certain teeth and the sinuses, which means they can affect each other in various ways. Let’s explore how sinus infections can lead to tooth pain.
Anatomy of sinuses
Sinuses are hollow, air-filled cavities located in the bones of your face and skull. They are connected to the nose by small passages called Ostia, which allow mucus to flow between them. Sinuses help moisten and warm the air you breathe and filter out allergens and other irritants.
The skull’s sinuses include the maxillary sinuses in the upper jawbone just below the eyes. Nestled between your eyes and hidden behind your nose rests the ethmoid sinuses, while the sphenoid sinuses are behind the ethmoids at the base of your skull.
The Connection Between Your Sinuses and Teeth
The maxillary sinus (one of the four paired paranasal sinuses) is directly above your upper jaw. If you suffer from a sinus infection, air pressure can increase in your nasal cavity and pressure your maxillary teeth in the upper jaw near the cheeks.
The pressure can not only cause discomfort in the affected teeth, but it may also spread to other sections of your face. In addition to this growing pressure, mucus draining from an acute sinus infection can cause bacteria to build up around the affected teeth. This bacteria build-up causes further discomfort and pain around those specific areas of your mouth.
Causes of Sinus Tooth Pain
Acute sinus infections, chronic sinusitis, and colds or allergies can cause sinus tooth pain.
- Acute sinus infections: Many people experience acute sinus infections during winter after exposure to cold temperatures and wet weather. That can cause severe pain from pressure on the roots of your teeth. Seeking medical attention should be of the utmost importance if you have an acute infection, as this type of infection can become more serious over time.
- Chronic sinusitis is another common cause of sinus-related tooth pain, which causes long-term inflammation and swelling in the nasal passages, resulting in jaw discomfort and facial and dental pain.
- Colds or allergies: Both might contribute to acute sinusitis due to a build-up of mucous that could accumulate around some teeth, causing them to ache or throb.
Determining the source of your sinus-related tooth pain is essential to treat it properly, so it’s important to consult your doctor to get the proper diagnosis and treatment options.
What are chronic maxillary sinus infections?
Chronic maxillary sinus infections, or maxillary sinusitis, are serious, recurring conditions in which the maxillary sinuses become inflamed due to bacterial or fungal infections.
This inflammation can lead to many symptoms, including facial tooth pain and pressure, headaches, congestion, and post-nasal drip. Without proper treatment, it can create serious ramifications for your well-being.
Fortunately, antibiotics and nasal sprays can clear the infection and alleviate symptoms.
For long-term relief of maxillary sinusitis, practising good hygiene habits and reducing known inflammation triggers are important to keep the maxillary sinuses free of excess mucus or fluids.
How to differentiate between sinus toothache and other forms of dental discomfort?
When upper teeth are aching, it is often difficult to tell whether the pain is due to an issue with the actual teeth or if another factor, such as a sinus infection, causes it.
Sinus toothache is usually characterised by soreness and inflammation of upper teeth combined with other maxillary sinus infection symptoms such as facial pain and tenderness, runny nose and congestion.
To differentiate between a sinus toothache and regular tooth pain, it’s important to look for evidence of discomfort that might indicate an infection in your nasal cavity or upper respiratory system.
If your nasal passages are blocked, it can create an imbalance in the pressure of your sinuses and lead to stuffiness.
Diagnosis of Sinus Infections’ Tooth Pain
When both a sinus infection and tooth aching occur simultaneously, it is imperative to diagnose the root cause. If you experience pressure within your sinuses and extreme pain and fever, then speaking with your physician should be done promptly. An X-ray may give the most accurate results in diagnosing this ailment; other tests, such as a sinus copy, can be completed if needed. Your doctor will help determine which areas require further examination to provide optimal treatment for chronic sinusitis and quickly alleviate oral discomfort.
Treatment of Sinus Infection Tooth Pain
Over-the-counter medications can provide quick relief if you have a sinus infection or toothache.
Try ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin or naproxen sodium to ease the discomfort and inflammation associated with this condition, it is essential to take measures for relief.
Oral decongestants: These medications work by narrowing the blood vessels in your nasal passage, reducing congestion.
Nasal sprays: Decongestant nasal sprays can help reduce sinus pressure and inflammation and relieve a toothache associated with a sinus infection.
Antibiotics: If your dentist or physician determines a bacterial infection is causing your toothache, an antibiotic may be prescribed to reduce the infection.
Steam inhalation: Inhaling steam can help reduce nasal and sinus congestion and temporarily relieve a toothache associated with a sinus infection.
Strategies for Preventing Sinus-Related Tooth Pain
- Drink plenty of fluids to keep your sinuses clear.
- Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke, as it can irritate the tissues in your sinuses and lead to further tooth pain.
- Maintain good oral health by brushing and flossing twice daily, as well as using an antiseptic mouthwash.
- Irrigate your sinuses with saline to flush out any built-up mucus, pollutants, and allergens causing the pain.
- Use a humidifier in your home or office to keep the air moist and reduce irritation to your sinuses.
- Avoid allergens, such as dust and pet dander, that can irritate your sinuses and cause pain in your teeth.
- If you suffer from allergies or a cold, take medication to relieve the symptoms and reduce inflammation in your sinuses.
How long does a sinus toothache last?
The length of sinus toothache on the underlying cause and how it is treated. In most cases, sinus-related tooth pain will resolve once the infection or inflammation in your sinuses has been cleared up. Nevertheless, depending on the infection’s severity, it may take a few weeks before the pain dissipates.
When to see a dentist for a sinus infection affecting your maxillary teeth?
- If you experience intense, localised pain in a maxillary tooth when you press on it.
- If you have an unexplained fever and facial swelling around the affected area.
- If your sinus infection does not respond to antibiotics or other treatments for several days.
- If your sinus infection is accompanied by persistent toothache and facial tenderness.
- If you experience a bad taste or smell in your mouth due to sinus drainage.
- If you are experiencing headaches, nausea, congestion, or other sinus infection symptoms that have lasted more than a week.
- If you experience facial numbness near the affected area due to the sinus infection.
- If you have difficulty eating or talking due to facial, jaw, or tooth pain caused by a sinus infection.
- If you notice a change in your bite due to displacement of maxillary teeth from the sinus infection.
In conclusion, sinus infections can cause tooth pain when the maxillary sinus is affected. The air pressure from an acute or chronic sinus infection can increase in the sinus cavities and pressure the maxillary teeth. In addition, mucus draining from a severe sinus infection can cause bacteria to build up around these teeth, leading to further discomfort and pain. If you are experiencing tooth pain brought on by a sinus infection, it is essential to seek medical attention right away.
Don’t suffer from a sinus infection or other toothache symptoms any longer – schedule an appointment with our emergency dentist in Adelaide today.
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