How a Sinus Infection Can Lead To a Toothache
The sinuses are an interconnected system of hollow cavities in your head. Healthy sinuses have an unrestricted air flow and can regularly drain away the thin layer of mucus that lines them. Because of the location of your maxillary sinuses, which are behind your cheekbones and over your upper teeth, any pain that you may experience in your sinus cavities can be closely associated with your teeth. As a result, when a sinus infection occurs, restricting the airflow in the sinus cavity and limiting how well the mucus can drain out of the sinus cavity, both conditions will result in pain and pressure inside of your sinus cavity and over your upper jaw bones, causing sinus tooth pain.
The sinus pain you feel can easily be confused for pain associated with dental issues caused by tooth infection and decay, impacted wisdom teeth, gum disease and more. It is important to be able to distinguish whether you are simply suffering from a sinus infection or if a dental issue is affecting your sinuses.
Causes of a Sinus Toothache
A variety of factors can trigger the sinus infections that cause sinus toothaches. Any inflammation or infection of your maxillary sinuses will cause the swelling of the mucus lining and the blockage of your nasal passages. Depending on the cause of the infected sinuses, the sinus toothache may be acute, lasting for only a short while, or it can be a chronic condition, persisting for many weeks before stopping and the reoccurring. Common causes of sinus toothaches may include:
- Sinus infections caused by virus, or more rarely, bacteria
- Nasal polyps or some other type of bodily obstruction
- Deviated septum
- Tooth infection
If a sinus toothache is a result of a sinus infection, you will most likely be experiencing additional symptoms, some of which may include:
- Swelling and tenderness in the cheekbones
- Nose congestion
- Nasal discharge
- A toothache that seems to affect several teeth
- Persistent coughing
- Bad breath
- Sinus pain that worsens when you are sitting up rather than lying down
Sinus Toothaches Caused by a Dental Condition
Sometimes, the reason for your sinus toothache may be the result of a dental issue. For example, the presence of a tooth abscess in one of the upper molar teeth, particularly in the wisdom teeth that are located closer to the maxillary sinus, can cause a sinus infection. The bacteria from the tooth abscess may spread from the area around the root of the infected tooth and travel to the sinus cavity, becoming trapped in the mucus lining. Because of the resultant restricted air flow and the poor drainage of the mucus, the bacteria will continue to multiply, causing an infection and a sinus toothache.
If you are experiencing any sinus or tooth pain, it is important that you get professional help before the condition progresses. Your dentist will be able to determine if you are suffering from a sinus infection or an actual toothache and will provide you with the proper treatment.