A sinus toothache, often described as a referred pain because the throbbing occurs in a tooth or teeth rather than at the actual site of infection, can plague a person for as long as the contagion rages. The solution of course, is to cure the sinusitis. Maybe.
To understand the whole toothache sinus problem we need to ask some basic questions:
What do sinuses do?
Basically, your sinus cavities purify and moisten your inhaled air, lighten the weight of your head, act as echo chambers to enrich your voice with deeper, resonant qualities or act like bubble wrap for the brain. Those are some of the theories anyway, proposed by the American Rhinologic Society.
They also get clogged up with mucus from bacterial and fungal infections and cause sinus toothache for too many people ... not that we consider that an actual function. But remember that just about any moist environment in your body can become infected -- toothache sinus issues are practically bound to occur!
Why do sinus infection toothaches occur?
When infected, those maxillary sinuses in the cheeks put pressure on the upper jawbones. Because of proximity, the inflamed sinus cavity also pressure roots and nerves in the teeth, causing a sinusitis toothache.
What are the symptoms of sinus toothache?
Pressure under the eyes, coughing or sneezing are the main precursors to a sinus infection toothache. Watch for dental pain coming from cold, chewing and percussion. You'll probably feel a sinus toothache in your upper jaws and in one or more teeth, usually on one side of the mouth.
Acute sinusitis lasts from days to weeks, while chronic sinusitis stretches on for over two months and reoccurs. But symptoms for acute sinusitis tend to be more severe than chronic infection symptoms.
How do you avoid toothache sinus problems?
A sinus infection usually follows a cold. Allergies, nose injuries and deviated septums may also trigger bouts of infection and eventual sinus toothache, as do lowered immune systems, according to Penn State University's College of Medicine.
Some other perpetrators? Frequent air travel, deep scuba diving and believe it or not, a tooth abscess. In this rare case, bacteria spread from the roots of your teeth causing sinus infection and a sinusitis toothache.
Does that work in reverse? Can sinusitis cause tooth decay?
According to Columbia University's College of Dental Medicine, sinus problems may cause dental damage beyond temporary sinus toothache pain in an indirect fashion.
Medications may cause xerostomia, or dry mouth. And we need our saliva to clean plaque-building bacteria from our teeth. Mouth breathing because of sinus infection also causes xerostomia.
So now we have a chicken and egg question: Did the tooth decay cause sinusitis, or did the sinusitis toothache and decay come from a sinus infection? Ask yourself if you had dental pain or abscess first or if you experienced sinus toothache after you noticed upper respiratory problems. Talk to your dentist in either case.
What You Can Do for Toothache Sinus Pain
If a sinus infection toothache flares up, your physician can recommend antihistamines, decongestants or antibiotics for the sinusitis. Inhale steam or place warm, moist washcloths on your face.
For the sinusitis toothache itself, brush twice a day, floss before going to bed, use an antiseptic mouth rinse and stop smoking. You might also try a softer food diet and chewing on the less painful side of your mouth until your infection clears up. Severe toothache sinus issues may warrant taking an over-the-counter pain killer for general relief.
Solving the Sinus Toothache Problem
Your dentist should check for infections caused by sinusitis or for sinus infections causing tooth decay, particularly if you are a chronic sufferer. And if you're experiencing dental decay anyway, any bout of sinusitis may cause toothache sinus pain.
To learn more about the way each condition affects the other, visit the dentist.
Call us at 1-866-970-0441 and we'll find a great dentist near you to root out your sinus toothache problem.