Winter seems to be a time when many people in Hendricks County suffer from sinus infections or sinusitis. But did you know that sinusitis can sometimes cause a toothache?
Your sinuses are a connected system of hollow, air-filled cavities in your skull. They’re lined with soft, pink tissue called mucosa. While there are 4 pairs of sinus cavities, only the maxillary sinuses located behind your cheekbones can affect your teeth. The floor of the maxillary sinuses rests above the roots of your upper teeth.

How Can Sinusitis Cause a Toothache?

Sinusitis is inflammation or swelling of the mucosa lining the sinuses. When your sinuses become blocked due to viruses and allergies, bacteria can grow out of control, leading to an infection. This infection causes pus and mucus to accumulate in your sinus cavity. When this pus and mucus builds up, it can put pressure on your upper teeth, causing pain. This pain usually feels like a dull ache, as if something is pressing down your teeth. The pain may occur suddenly. Or, you might notice tooth sensitivity when you’re eating. Also, your tooth pain may get better or worse when you move your head, such as standing up or lying down.
However, you don’t have to have a full-blown sinus infection in order to have tooth pain. You also can experience a toothache with a bad head cold that’s accompanied with sinus congestion due to the fluid buildup.

How Do You Determine If the Pain Is from Your Tooth or Your Sinuses?

If you’re experiencing a persistent toothache, schedule an appointment with Danville Family Dentistry in Hendricks County. Dr. Jon Erickson will examine your tooth to determine if your toothache is due to other dental issues, such as a cavity, dental abscess, tooth grinding or periodontal disease. He also may take an x-ray of your tooth to see what’s going on below the surface; press on your sinuses for signs of tenderness; and tap your teeth with an instrument to test for sensitivity.
If your tooth appears to be healthy, and Dr. Erickson thinks you may have sinusitis based on your symptoms, he’ll recommend that you make an appointment with your doctor for further diagnosis and treatment. Typically, treatment for sinusitis includes saline nasal washes, warm compresses to the face, antihistamines, pain relievers, antibiotics, decongestants, and steroids.
Regardless of whether you’re having symptoms of sinusitis or not, if you have a toothache, contact our Hendricks County office to make an appointment. Don’t just live with the pain, hoping it will go away. Have it checked out!