a woman experiencing toothache

Did you know that the symptoms of pressure in the sinuses can sometimes mimic those of a regular toothache? Congestion or an infection in the sinus can sometimes cause pain or discomfort in the upper teeth, often mimicking the feeling of a cavity or an abscess. It is highly important to be able to distinguish between a sinus problem and a toothache, why pressure in the sinuses can result in a toothache, and what to expect when you visit your dentist.

What Causes Sinus Toothaches?

Pain or discomfort in the teeth that is related to a sinus problem happens because the upper teeth (particularly those at the back) are in such proximity to the maxillary sinuses. The maxillary sinuses can be found inside the cheekbones and above the upper jaws. When they become inflamed, this is referred to as sinusitis. In the case of sinusitis or an infection in the sinuses, the maxillary sinus can become congested, which results in pressure building in the area. The bottom area of the maxillary sinuses is very close to the roots of the upper back teeth, so when the sinuses swell and pressure builds, pain or discomfort in the nerves of the tooth roots can follow.

How Can You Tell the Difference Between Sinus and Dental Problems?

Telling the difference between tooth pain related to a sinus problem or one caused by a dental problem can be very difficult. Some of the indicators that a toothache is related to a sinus issue are:

  • Congestion in the Nasal Passage or Sinus
  • Pain is Only Present in the Back Upper Teeth
  • Pain is Present on Both Sides of the Face
  • More Than One Tooth is Painful
  • No Sensitivity to Temperatures (Hot or Cold Foods and Drinks)
  • Pain Only When Chewing or Biting
  • Some of the signs of a dental abscess causing tooth pain are:
  • Pain
  • Swelling Around the Affected Tooth
  • Redness and Swelling of the Gums
  • A Foul Taste in the Mouth
  • Fever and/or Body Aches and Chills

Toothaches can also be common following a cold or severe allergy. This is typically caused by bacteria that attack an already existing tooth problem when the immune system is weakened. Dentists see this daily often, and some even refer to the late Fall through Winter as “Toothache Season.”

When trying to determine whether tooth pain is caused by sinusitis or a dental issue, you should consider your medical history. If you have experienced sinus-related toothaches in the past, you may be more able to recognize the pain and whether a sinus issue is underlying. You may also want to consider keeping a journal of your sinus problems or allergy attacks. This can help you to determine whether there is a connection between tooth pain and sinus problems and whether you need to seek help from your dentist or your doctor.

Visit Your Dentist

If you are unsure of what is causing your tooth pain or discomfort, it is best to contact your dentist. In most cases of tooth pain, your dentist will conduct a thorough examination and take x-rays of the teeth that are painful, looking for signs of cavities or potential abscesses. If the teeth affected appear healthy and aren’t painful when eating hot or cold foods and drinks, the pain is most likely the result of a sinus problem. It can be really difficult to determine the cause of tooth pain on your own, so visiting your dentist and undergoing specific tests and a thorough examination by your dentist is the best way to determine the underlying cause. A sinus infection is typically treated with a round of antibiotics whereas a dental abscess requires dental treatment and is then followed with a course of antibiotics.

You don’t need to suffer from untreated tooth pain, and the longer it goes unaddressed, the worse or potentially dangerous it can become. Don’t let feeling nervous or worried about visiting your dentist stop you from seeking treatment and finding relief. At Stonegate Dental we pride ourselves on offering a comfortable and stress-free experience to all of our clients. Our staff can’t wait to connect with you and help you enjoy a pain-free, healthy and beautiful smile. Schedule your appointment with our Guelph dentist’s office today!

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