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Sinus and Tooth Pain - How Are These Two Connected?

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Toothache is never good news. Let's face it, nobody likes it and it is just one more inconvenience we have to face eventually. And while most of the toothaches are caused by poor oral hygiene and unlucky coincidence, there are cases where you can experience sinus tooth pain.

Oftentimes an unexplained tooth pain is related to sinus infection toothache, usually caused by bacteria and allergies.
After all, sinuses are located behind our nose and cheekbones, just above our upper jaw, so no wonder there is a connection between toothache and sinus infections.

In this blog post, we'll try to cover the link between sinus infection tooth pain and regular toothache, when it is caused by dental issues, and when by sinus infections. Also, we'll give you some useful advice on sinus toothache treatment and when is the time to see your doctor.

What Is a Sinus Infection

To answer this question properly, let's talk about sinus anatomy in general.
The sinuses are four pairs of air-filled cavities located in the facial bones close to your eyes, just behind your cheekbones. Their main role is that moisten, warm, and filter the air in your nasal cavity. They also create mucus, which oozes into your nose, keeping it clean. If these areas filled with air become blocked by a liquid, there is a strong possibility of a sinus infection (sinusitis).

In most cases of sinusitis, the tissue that is covering the sinuses becomes swollen and inflamed. The most common symptom of sinusitis is a toothache. This pain is usually caused by drainage from a sinus infection and pressure onto your nasal cavity. Sometimes, this pain can be confused with other issues like gum disease, impacted wisdom tooth, and even tooth decay.
You can feel the pain in your upper rear teeth because they are closest to your sinuses. Oftentimes this pain and discomfort can spread to your lower teeth as well.

sinus tooth pain symptoms

Symptoms of Sinus Infections

As we mentioned, pain is among the most common symptoms of sinus infection. The pressure in your nasal cavity caused by a sinus infection and mucus drainage can be rather annoying and can lead to serious headaches. The pain is concentrated around your nose, forehead, between your eyes, and in your upper jaws and teeth.

Other well-known sinus tooth pain symptoms also include:

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestions (your breathing may be obstructed and you won't taste or smell properly)
  • Facial pressure and sinus headaches
  • Slime dripping down your throat (this is called post-nasal drip that can cause you to cough during the night)
  • Sore throat and hoarse voice (mucus irritates your throat and vocal cords resulting in sore throat and rough voice, especially in the morning)
  • Bad breath, dry mouth, and constant cough

Toothache Caused by Sinus Infection

As we can see, problems with sinuses can have a wide range of symptoms but sometimes people experience nothing but a common toothache. The tooth pain is often what brings patients to the dentist and at first glance, this pain can seem completely unrelatable to sinuses. Sometimes, it is the sinus causing tooth pain and making you feel uncomfortable and not your tooth.

A panoramic x-ray or CT scan can show nothing wrong with the tooth but may show congested sinuses. This is the key sign that sinus infection causes toothache, especially if that pain affects other teeth as well.

toothache caused by sinus infection

Sinus toothache can happen suddenly and usually when you chew. That is why people often confuse it with a regular toothache. Some other signs that indicate toothache caused by sinusitis include facial swelling, swollen gums, strong headaches, runny nose, and even fatigue.

This condition can make it difficult to have decent oral hygiene but fortunately, all of these symptoms are easily resolved by detecting and treating the sinus infection.

Sinus Pain Caused by Dental Issues

Since the sinuses and our upper teeth are next to each other, there is always a chance to develop a toothache caused by a sinus infection. For example, if a bacterial infection happens in our upper teeth, that same infection can easily spread towards your sinus cavities and cause symptoms similar to chronic sinus infection.

Tooth infections that develop underneath crowns or a root canal can become a constant reservoir of bacteria that can cause the symptoms of sinus infection.

Sinus pain caused by dental issues is often overlooked because they affect your sinuses before showing any dental-related symptoms like a toothache. The actual toothache is usually followed by gingivitis and this is the first sign that the issue is connected to your teeth and not your sinuses.

Sinus and toothache can go hand in hand and it is important to visit your dentist to determine if the pain is caused by a sinus infection or it is a more serious dental issue.

How Long Does a Sinus Toothache Last

To answer the question of how long does a sinus toothache last, we must mention two basic types of sinusitis: chronic and acute.

Chronic sinus infections usually persist for more than twelve weeks or they continue to return during this period. Dentists agree that the principal criteria for sinus infection involve constant facial pain, congestion, and nasal discharge.

Acute sinusitis only lasts for about four weeks, way shorter than the chronic one, and is usually followed by cold or other respiratory diseases.

Both acute and chronic sinusitis have common symptoms. The best way to determine if you are suffering from acute or chronic sinusitis is to visit your doctor.

sinus toothache treatment

Sinus Toothache Treatment

When it comes to sinus toothache treatment and sinus tooth pain remedies, your doctor may prescribe you several options, depending on the severity of the infection.

For simple symptoms, doctors usually recommend you use saline nasal washes and decongestant. Keep in mind that decongestants shouldn't be used for more than 3 days, as longer use can make your nose even more blocked.

Minor toothache pain can be treated with the use of pain relievers like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or a simple aspirin. If pain persists or increases, you should definitely visit your doctor.

Sometimes, your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics and you'll usually take them for about 10 to 14 days. In some cases, your doctor can give you steroids along with antibiotics. During the treatment, symptoms will disappear.

If you have a chronic case of sinusitis warm and moist air from a vaporizer will help you immensely. Just be sure that the water isn't too hot.

Here are some other things you can do by yourself, that can help you with chronic sinusitis:

  • Warm compresses methods can act as a great sinus tooth pain relief
  • Use saline nose drops you made at home
  • Use decongestants or sprays. Although quite effective, don't use them longer than recommended.
  • Stay hydrated, as taking in enough water on a daily basis can thin mucus and relieve sinus congestion. Hot liquids like tea or soup are particularly effective and soothing.