As well as being an unpleasant condition in its own right, a sinus infection or sinusitis can also cause tooth pain. This is because the pressure of inflamed sinuses and their drainage starts affecting the nearest teeth. Prolonged sinus infections often end up hurting the rear teeth of the upper teeth as they are situated close to the sinuses.
Let us take a look at how sinus infections affect your teeth and when you should visit your doctor:
What Are Sinuses?
There are four pairs of cavities full of air in your head. They are located near your eyes, cheekbones, and forehead. They are lined with cilia, tiny hairs that help filter the air you breathe. They also warm the air and make it moist to make breathing more comfortable.
The mucus that comes out of your nose is produced in the sinuses. It is meant to clean out your nose. However, when the sinuses become filled with fluid, they can get infected.
Since they are located close to your cheekbones, the congestion in the sinuses can make your teeth hurt. The roots of the teeth in your upper jaw are close to the sinuses, so irritated sinuses can transfer pain or infection to these teeth too.
Toothache from Sinus Infections
Sinus infections can sometimes cause toothaches. The kind of pain you experience is very similar to an ordinary toothache, but there are a few distinguishing factors that can help you differentiate a normal toothache from a toothache caused by sinusitis.
If your pain is localized to the upper molars and affects several teeth at once, it could be from a sinus infection.
If you also experience other signs of a sinus infection like tenderness near your eyes and forehead, fever, lethargy, earache, or throat pain, the toothache is likely caused by a sinus infection.
Toothaches caused by sinus infections always get worse when you move. This is because the fluid blocking the sinuses shifts, and you can feel it in your teeth.
If the toothache is caused due to a dental problem, the pain will be more intense and usually affect only one tooth.
Sinus Infections Caused by Dental Infections
Sinusitis can cause dental pain, but dental infections can also cause sinus infections. This is because the sinuses are close to teeth in the upper jaw, and the infection can easily spread from the teeth to the sinuses.
Antibiotics are used to treat the infection. They are quite effective, and the infection doesn’t return in most cases.
Treating Sinus Infections
There are many different treatments for sinus infections, depending on their severity. Home remedies prove effective for many people. However, if they don’t work for you, you can seek medical help. Here are all your options:
- Drink a lot of fluids. Staying hydrated will help thin out the mucus and relieve the pressure on your sinuses. In addition, hot drinks like herbal tea or soup can be very comforting.
- Taking in steam will help clear your sinuses. You can use a facial steamer or just boil some water, pour it into a bowl, and keep your head above it.
- Cover yourself with a towel to trap in the steam. Taking a hot shower can also give the same relief.
- Perform a sinus flush by rinsing your sinuses with saltwater. This washes away any irritants while moistening your sinuses. You can also purchase readymade sinus flush solutions.
- When home remedies don’t work, a doctor can prescribe decongestants, nasal sprays, or allergy medication, with antibiotics being a last resort.
- For sinusitis-induced tooth pain, you can take over-the-counter painkillers. Applying a hot compress or ice pack or alternating between the two can also relieve tooth pain.
When Should You See a Doctor?
Determining the cause of tooth pain is not always easy. If your tooth pain persists for a long time or continues after your sinusitis is gone, you should consult your dentist to determine what is causing it.
Alternatively, if the pain and discomfort are severe, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist as the underlying cause for the pain might be a dental problem like a cavity or an abscess.
Sinuses and dental problems might seem unrelated, but the cause of your toothache might very well be a sinus infection because the two are connected anatomically. This works the other way around too, where dental infections can spread to the sinuses.
Fortunately, the treatment is relatively simple. You can try home remedies or get prescription antibiotics if the infection is too severe.