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When A Sinus Infection Causes Toothache

Chances are you don’t pay your teeth much attention unless there’s something wrong with them. Toothache is one of the worst symptoms you can experience. It can be a throbbing, painful feeling that radiates from your mouth to your jaw. Eventually, it can give you a terrible headache. And if you’re unlucky, a simple toothache could lead to migraines, nausea, and joint pain. 

Many things could be causing this pain. But if you’re dealing with a sinus infection, that’s a probable culprit. Sinusitis occurs when the tissue lining the sinuses becomes swollen and inflamed, and one of its common symptoms is tooth pain. Sinus pressure and drainage from sinus infections could be causing this. You’re more likely to feel discomfort in the upper rear that is closest to the sinuses.

Sinus Anatomy

The air-filled spaces found in the facial bones near your forehead, eyes, and behind your cheekbones are called the sinuses. They produce mucus, which drains into the nasal passageways and cleans the nose. They also warm up, filter, and moisten the air in your nasal cavity. An infection might occur when these air-filled spaces become blocked by fluid.

The pressure and congestion that accompany a sinus infection can lead to pain or discomfort in your upper teeth. This is because the roots of the upper teeth and jawbone are close to the sinuses. This may be called a “referred pain,” which is perceived pain from a location other than the site of the origin as a result of interconnecting sensory nerves. 

The Difference From Regular Toothache

A regular toothache and a sinus toothache have many similar symptoms. However, a sinus infection usually affects your upper molars, spreading discomfort to several teeth instead of only one. If you’re experiencing pain in these parts, and it comes with some of the symptoms listed below, a sinus infection is the likely cause of your toothache. You may also have a fever or have low energy.

Other dental concerns tend to cause a more focused, more intense toothache. Pain from a sinus toothache, on the other hand, may intensify with certain types of movements. Bending over or jumping up and down can make create great discomfort. This is because the sinus pressure shifts as you move and you will feel it more in your teeth. You might ease the pain by lying down or sitting. 

Other Symptoms

Sinusitis often starts as a common viral cold and turns into a superimposed bacterial infection. It can also come from fungal or bacterial infections, allergies, and changes in air pressure or temperature. Low immunity, asthma, and chemical irritants also increase the risk of having sinusitis.  

Symptoms of a sinus infection are often similar to nasal allergy and cold symptoms. You may cough, experience head congestion, or have a stuffy or runny nose. Swelling and inflammation can cause sinus pressure and blockage, leading to facial pain.

Other common symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • thick, discolored mucus
  • halitosis
  • bad-tasting nasal drip
  • tenderness or pressure around your eyes, nose, or forehead
  • fever
  • ear pain or fullness
  • sore throat
  • loss of taste and smell
  • tiredness
  • hoarse voice

Home Treatment

It may be quite difficult to go about your day while dealing with sinusitis and sinus toothache. Fortunately, there are various home remedies that you can do to relieve your discomfort. Start with a few of these solutions and move on with medication if you don’t see results. 

  1. Breathe In Hot Steam

Inhaling hot, moist air will help clear your nasal passages and reduce sinus pressure. Place a warmed towel over your cheeks and nose while you relax on your bed. You can also sit in the bathroom while the shower is running or stand in the shower. 

For a more potent steam treatment, boil water and then pour it in a large bowl. Tent a washcloth over your head and bend over the pot to inhale the steam. Move little by little near the bowl as the liquid cools. Be careful not to get too close too quickly to the hot water and keep your eyes closed. You might want to add a drop or two of essential oils; chamomile and lavender have a calming effect while eucalyptus can help open the nose.

  1. Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water to fight sinus congestion. Make sure you’re getting plenty of liquids. This will help reduce pressure and thin mucus that block your sinuses. Hot liquids like tea and soup may be especially soothing.

  1. Irrigate Your Sinuses

Nasal irrigation is a common way of clearing out the sinus passages. It involves using a saltwater solution to flush out germs and mucus residing in your nose. Other terms for this are nasal douche, nasal wash, or lavage. There is evidence showing that irrigation can improve symptoms, including one study published in September 2016 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Medical Treatment

Prescription medication is an option if home remedies don’t do the trick. Ask your doctor for a decongestant, mucus-thinning medicine, or steroid nasal spray. Allergy-relieving drugs may also be recommended. If a bacterial infection is at play, antibiotics will help treat the sinusitis. However, it’s important to try other solutions first before doing antibiotics. Structural issues, on the other hand, may require surgery.

Toothache Treatment

Treat minor toothache with an over-the-counter pain reliever such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. Topical numbing gels or pastes containing benzocaine also help alleviate discomfort. A saltwater rinse can also treat oral wounds and reduce inflammation. Rinse your mouth with this solution for 30 seconds at a time, several times per day.

When To See A Doctor

If your sinus toothache and other symptoms persist for more than a week, visit your dentist. He or she can determine whether your toothache is caused by gum disease, dental abscesses, or cavities. If your dentist doesn’t find a dental cause for your toothache, go to a physician to check for other possible medical causes. 

It’s important to see exactly what’s causing your tooth pain. If it’s sinusitis, home remedies and over-the-counter medications are available. Just make sure to visit a health professional if you’re experiencing severe discomfort.