Do you know that sinus infection or sinus inflammation can lead to toothache?
Both sinus infection and inflammation can lead to toothache. A sinus infection occurs when the tissue lining of the sinus becomes inflamed and swollen.
However, tooth pain is a common symptom of sinusitis and can be due to pressure in the sinus and by draining from a sinus infection.
You can experience pain in the upper rear teeth that are closest to the sinuses. There are two types of sinus infections: chronic sinus infections and acute sinusitis.
Both of these can cause pain and pressure as well as nasal congestion.
The sinuses are small pockets of air pockets present behind your forehead, nose, cheekbones, and in between your eyes.
They produce mucus, which is a thin layer as well as a flowing liquid that protects your body by trapping and moving the germs away.
However, in some cases, bacteria or allergens can cause them to make too much mucus form and in turn, it blocks the openings of your sinuses.
Let’s learn more about the connection between sinus infection and toothaches and causes, symptoms, and treatment.
Sinus Infection and Toothache: The Connection
The sinus is 4 pairs of air-filled spaces found in the facial bones near your eyes, forehead, and behind your cheekbones.
Moreover, they warm, moisten, and filter the air into your nasal cavity and also has the ability to produce mucus which drains in the nasal cavity and cleans your nose.
However, when you have a sinus infection, the congestion and pressure that accompany it can cause discomfort or pain in your upper teeth.
This is because the roots of your upper teeth and jawbone are near the sinuses.
In some cases, this is also termed as referred pain, and the discomfort spreads to the lower teeth as well.
The symptoms of regular toothache and sinus toothache are similar.
However, you mostly feel sinus toothache in your upper teeth and upper jaw.
If you have sinus toothache along with other symptoms, then it means that you have a sinus toothache.
Moreover, you may also feel a bit low in energy or under the weather or might also have a fever.
It is important to note that pain with a sinus infection may also intensify with certain movements.
These include jumping up pr bending over. This is because the pressure in your sinus shifts as you move and you can feel it in your teeth.
Other Symptoms of Sinus Infection
In most cases, the sinus infection starts or begins as a regular viral cold and turns into a bacterial infection.
Other causes of this infection can be allergens, bacterial or fungal infections and changes in temperature or air pressure can also cause it.
Moreover, chemical irritants, asthma, and low humidity can also increase your risk of developing sinusitis.
Often the symptoms of sinus infection are similar to cold and nasal allergy symptoms.
You may have head congestion, a runny or stuffy nose, or a cough.
Additional symptoms are pressure or tenderness around your nose, eyes, or forehead.
Moreover, you might also experience a sore throat and hoarse voice.
Who is at risk of Sinus Infections?
Anyone can develop a sinus infection, however, certain factors can increase your chances of developing ones.
These are a deviated nasal septum, nasal polyps, a history of allergens, contact with mold, and a weak immune system.
Moreover, smoking, upper respiratory infection, cystic fibrosis, dental infection, and traveling by airplane can increase your chances.
A deviated nasal septum is when the wall of the tissue that runs between your right and left nostrils displaces to one side.
While nasal polyps are noncancerous growths in the nose.
There are a number of treatments for sinus infections, however, it is important that you treat the symptoms as soon as possible.
You can start with a few drops of these home remedies and move to traditional treatment if you do not see results.
Here are a few options to treat sinus infection:
Stay Hydrated: Drinking water is a key to relieving sinus infections.
Thus, make sure to drink enough water and getting plenty of liquids. This helps the mucus to become thin and reduces pressure and blockage of the sinus.
Moreover, hot liquids like soup and tea are especially soothing.
Steam: Breathing in hot, moist air can help to open the nasal passage and relieve sinus pressure.
Simply boiling the water and inhaling the steam for a few minutes can help open your nasal passage.
Sinus Flush: Rinsing your sinuses with a saline solution can help to moisten your sinuses while clearing away allergens and discharge.
Moreover, you can use a nasal sprayer, neti pot, or nasal irrigation system to clean them.
Limit the use of Decongestant Sprays: While decongestant nasal sprays can be a good option for treating sinus congestion for the short term.
However, if you use them in excess, they can lead to rebound congestions, and instead of preventing it, you may develop tolerance.
Treatment for Sinusitis
If home remedies are not effective in treating sinus infection or it keeps on coming back, then you can always use prescription medications to get rid of it.
This may include a decongestant, steroid nasal spray, or mucus thinning medicine.
Alternatively, allergy-relieving medications can also be used, however, you should always consult your doctor before using them.
If your symptoms do not improve with the help of home remedies and OTC or over-the-counter medications, then you are most likely to have a bacterial infection.
For this, you will have to visit your doctor.
You may need antibiotic therapy for symptoms like runny nose, congestion, cough, continued facial pain or headaches, eye swelling, or a fever.
If you receive antibiotics, then you will have to use them for 3 to 14 days depending on your doctor’s instructions.
Do not stop them from taking earlier as this allow the bacterial infection to fester and possibly not resolve fully.
You may also need to schedule another appointment for your doctor to monitor your condition.
If your infection does not improve or worsen by the next visit, they may refer you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
There are a few options to treat a toothache before going to a dentist.
You can try:
OTC pain relievers: You can treat minor toothache pain with an OCT, over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, Advil, or Motrin.
Moreover, topical numbing pastes for pain relief can also be used for pain relief.
However, you should not use products that contain benzocaine especially in children under age 2.
Hot and Cold Therapy: Alternatively, you can use heat and cold therapy, pad, or cold compress on the affected area for 15 minutes at a time.
You can do this a few times throughout the day to relieve pain.
Saltwater Rinse: A saltwater rinse can help to relieve inflammation and treat oral wounds.
Rinsing your mouth with this solution for 30 seconds a day can help. You can try this several times throughout the day.
Learn more about Toothache remedies here.
When to Visit a Doctor
You should visit your dentist if the persistent toothache lasts for some time, does not go away after the infection, or causes severe discomfort.
Moreover, grinding your teeth can also cause it.
However, visit your doctor if your dentist is not able to find the cause of your toothache.
They can assess whether a sinus condition or any other medical condition is causing it.
In the same way, visit your doctor if the sinus infection does not get better after treatment or if any of your symptoms are painful or severe. They might refer you to an ear, nose, and throat, ENT specialist.
It is important to get it checked as sinusitis can be due to structural issues like narrow drainage passages, tumors, or a shifted nasal septum.
Preventing a Sinus Infection
As a sinus infection develops after a cold, flu, or allergic reaction, a healthy lifestyle and reducing exposure to germs and allergens can help prevent infection.
To reduce your risk, you can:
Get a flu vaccine, eat healthy foods, and wash your hands regularly.
Moreover, limiting your exposure to smoke, chemicals, pollen, and other allergens or irritants, taking antihistamine medications, and avoiding exposure to those with active respiratory infections like cold or flu.
The bottom Line
Sinus infections can cause a number of symptoms including toothaches, especially in the upper rear teeth. Although they can cause discomfort, both issues are mostly simple and easy to resolve. Moreover, once you treat them your tooth pain will go away.
Most often symptoms improve or clear within a week or so, however, if they don’t, talk to your doctor if the sinus congestion or infection persists after treatment or if the symptoms worsen after taking medications and trying home remedies. They will refer to an ENT or an ear, nose, and throat doctor to diagnose the cause of infection.