When Dental Pain is a Sinus Issue
It only makes sense to visit your dentist when you have a toothache, and you definitely should. However, while your dentist can treat most dental discomfort, there are some cases where your toothache is coming from your sinuses. It may not be on your initial radar but your sinuses and your teeth are closely related. In fact, your upper molar teeth roots are so near the floor of the maxillary sinus cavity, that when your sinuses fill with fluid, the pressure can cause tooth pain. What can feel like a dental problem may actually be your first (or only) sign of a sinus infection.
Here are some ways to help you determine if your pain source is really in your mouth or your sinuses so that you can get the effective treatment you need.
Location: If a sinus infection is causing your dental discomfort, the pain is usually found in the upper back teeth, as these are the closest in proximity to your sinus cavity. In order to determine if a sinus infection is the root cause of a toothache, a dentist will typically perform a percussion test, which involves a gentle tap on each tooth to establish your exact location of pain. Pain located in all of the teeth signifies a sinus-related infection.
Other symptoms: It is important to evaluate yourself for other sinus-related symptoms too. If you have tenderness in your mid-face area, nasal congestion or headache, there is a good chance that you have a sinus infection that is also causing your maxillary tooth pain.
Worse With Movement: A common characteristic of a sinus toothache is that the pain will increase in intensity when you move, yet subside when you are lying down or sitting. Take a quick self test and jump up and down. If you feel a stronger throbbing pain in your upper teeth, a sinus toothache is the likely diagnosis.
You will need to see your physician for proper treatment of a sinus infection, as most cases will require a round of antibiotics. You doctor or dentist may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory or pain reliever to alleviate your discomfort. Leaving a sinus infection untreated can make it more difficult to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine, as the excess fluid and drainage often causes bad breath and sensitive teeth may make brushing unpleasant.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV, Gilreath Dental Associates