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If your teeth ache, you probably call your dentist for an appointment. You naturally assume that pain is the result of a cavity or other dental issue. But it could be that the pain is not triggered by a dental problem. Instead, your sinuses could be the culprit, especially if the pain is localized to your upper molars. A sinus infection could be causing your tooth pain. Here’s how.
The hollow spaces behind your cheeks, forehead and nose are called sinuses. Four pairs of cavities make up your sinuses: frontal, maxillary, sphenoid and ethmoid. They have a few functions including humidifying the air you breathe, lightening the weight of your head and preventing bacteria, dust and other pollutants from getting into your system. Sometimes the tissue lining the sinuses can become irritated and inflamed, which can cause fluid to build up and can lead to a sinus infection.
The connection to your teeth results from the proximity of your upper molars to your sinuses. The roots of your upper molars are very close to the maxillary sinus, which means an infection or inflammation in the sinus can create pain in the teeth.
How can you tell if a sinus infection is causing your tooth pain? Consider how you’re feeling overall. Are you tired and finding it hard to breath? It could be that your sinuses are inflamed. Some other symptoms of a sinus infection include:
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms in addition to your tooth pain, you could have an infection. The only way to determine if you have a sinus infection is to get examined by a medical expert. A doctor can diagnose your condition then prescribe the proper treatment. Once the sinus infection is healed, your tooth pain will probably go away.
But if you don’t have any symptoms of a sinus infection accompanying the tooth pain, a visit to your dentist is advisable. A cavity, cracked tooth or other dental issue may be the true source of your tooth pain.
While it is advisable to get proper medical attention if you suspect you have a sinus infection, you can get some relief from the pain. Sinuses benefit from a moist environment, so consider using a humidifier, especially while you sleep. If you don’t have one, a steamy shower or breathing over a bowl of steamy water can have a similar effect.
Some people experience relief by sitting with a warm compress over the sinuses. Other people get benefit from over-the-counter medications or saline nasal sprays. If your symptoms persist, seek medical help.
Drinking plenty of fluids and getting adequate sleep will help restore your overall health.
Dr. Nguyen is a national expert in the treatment of nasal conditions, responsible for perfecting innovative and effective treatments like balloon sinuplasty. At Houston Sinus and Allergy, we utilize the newest technology and our extensive experience to find the best solution for the health of your nose and sinuses.
Contact our clinic at (832) 237-7777 to book an assessment with Dr. Nguyen. We also have an online form which you can fill out, allowing our office to respond quickly to your situation.