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Telling Whether It’s Sinus Pressure Or A Toothache

Person with cold

If there’s one thing allergy sufferers know, it’s that sinus pressure can cause toothaches. Congestion of the sinus cavity can cause pain as severe as that of an abscess or cavity. We’re going to discuss how this happens and how to tell the difference between the two symptoms. We’ll also be discussing how this pain occurs and what steps your dentist may take if you go to an appointment with these issues.

Understanding How Sinus Pressure Can Cause Toothaches

Sinus toothaches may not seem intuitive to those who haven’t experienced sinus tooth pain. A portion of the sinus cavity known as the maxillary sinuses are close to our rear upper teeth. They’re located above the upper jaw and inside the cheekbone. When this area becomes inflamed or infected, it is known as sinusitis. This condition results in the tissues of the maxillary sinus becoming swollen, which causes pressure. The proximity of the dental roots of the rear teeth makes them sensitive to this swelling. This sensitivity results from the pressure of the sinuses pushing on the roots of the teeth.

So how do you know if tooth pain is caused by sinusitis? These are some clues:

  • Congestion of the nose or sinuses are present
  • Only your rear top teeth hurt
  • Multiple teeth are affected
  • Cold or heat sensitivity is absent, but biting and chewing hurts

It’s possible when you’ve had a cold or an allergy attack that you may get a tooth infection. This infection is the result of opportunistic bacteria attacking a vulnerable tooth. Many dentists will refer to allergy and cold season as ‘toothache season’ due to this correlation. 

If you aren’t sure what’s causing your dental pain, a trip to the dentist is always appropriate. They have the equipment and expertise to identify the root cause of oral pain and sensitivity. They may use dental imaging, such as x-rays to see if there’s a visible source of your discomfort. One good guideline is if your teeth seem healthy and no other symptoms are present, it’s probably sinus pain. However, any bottom or front teeth that are experiencing dental pain call for a trip to the dentist.

Treatment of these conditions is thankfully simple. If you suffer from allergies, then take the usual steps for managing an attack. As the congestion passes, so will your dental pain. Those who are experiencing cold, flu, or a sinus infection should speak to their health provider. Sinus infections are generally treated using antibiotics. Once the infection has passed, so will your sinus tooth pain.

Speak To Your Dental Provider For Further Guidance

For some patients, sinus dental pain is an ongoing struggle. Those who suffer from allergies are the patients who frequently suffer from recurrence. Other patients may be susceptible to sinus infections due to other factors. Speaking to your dental provider and primary care provider can produce solutions to limit sinus dental pain. Reach out to your dental provider for a consultation to start finding answers that work today!

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Dr. Marian Bradford Dr. Marian Bradford brings over 20 years of experience as a Dr. of Dental Surgery to the practice at Premier Dental of South Orange County. As a researcher, educator, and clinician, she brings a full range of services to patients in the Aliso Viejo, CA area, including restoration and cosmetic dentistry care.
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