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Can a Sinus Infection Cause a Toothache?

Your sinuses are air filled cavities lined with mucus membranes in your skull. These membranes may become infected causing pain and pressure in your head as well as a toothache. The upper back teeth are more prone to pain caused by a sinus infection because they are closer to your sinuses than your other teeth. A sinus toothache can feel like a normal toothache, and it may be hard for your dentist to identify your sinuses are the cause for your pain.

Why Do My Teeth Hurt?

The maxillary sinuses are located inside each cheekbone above your upper teeth. These are the sinus membranes which usually cause tooth pain. When the mucus membranes get infected the swell up blocking the natural drainage of fluid from the sinuses. This causes pressure and your sinuses get blocked up with mucus. Since the maxillary sinuses are located below your nasal passages when you are erect, the fluid builds up and causes even more pressure. The trapped mucus may harbor more bacteria making the infection and pain worse.

A sinus infection makes your teeth hurt because the roots of the back upper teeth are close to the maxillary sinus cavity. The roots may even extend into the sinus cavity. The nerves of your teeth react to the pressure in the sinus cavity resulting in a toothache. There is not a problem with the actual tooth, but the nerves are irritated from the sinus pressure causing a sinus toothache. Pain can range from mild to severe depending on the location of the roots and the intensity of the infection.

Treatment of a Sinus Toothache

A sinus toothache is treated by treating the sinus infection. If your sinuses are infected you will need antibiotics to treat the infection. This will relieve the pain once the swelling and inflammation of the sinuses is reduced. Decongestants and over the counter pain relievers can also give you some relief from the pain. NSAIDS such as ibuprofen are recommended because they help reduce inflammation and pain. Once the underlying sinus infection is treated, your toothache should go away.

If you are experiencing tooth pain in the back upper area of your mouth, call or contact our office to have Dr. Taylor evaluate the source of the pain. Dr. Taylor and her staff will be happy to help you and answer any questions you may have about treatment.