If you find yourself with a toothache during allergy or cold season, the reason may not be a dental problem at all. The culprit may be a sinus infection, also called sinusitis. Sinus infections may cause pressure in the sinus cavities so intense that you feel pain in the roots of your teeth, creating what is known as a sinus toothache.
How Your Sinuses Can Cause Toothaches
Your maxillary sinuses are hollow chambers adjacent to your upper jaw bone. When you have a cold or allergy flare up, bacteria accumulates in these chambers, and infection develops. If the sinus cavities fail to drain, pressure builds. This pressure intensifies into your cheeks, and soon you feel pain in your upper back teeth.
How You Can Tell a Dental Toothache from a Sinus Toothache
Since your sinuses are located so close to your upper jaw, confusion often arises about the true pain source. Ask yourself these questions to pinpoint the problem:
- Have you recently experienced a stuffy nose, headache, fever, sore throat, or a feeling of fullness in your ears? These are symptoms of sinus infection and could mean that your toothache is not dental in origin.
- Do you practice good oral hygiene and maintain a regular schedule of dental checkups and dental cleanings? If so, it’s likely that your toothache pain is actually sinusitis.
Treatment for a Sinus Toothache
Because a sinus toothache feels like a dental toothache, you may turn to your dentist for help. Upon hearing your symptoms, Austin dentist Dr. Steven Van Wicklen will refer you to your physician, who can provide the necessary treatment.
Sinusitis can be treated in a variety of ways. Your doctor may prescribe decongestants, pain medication, and antibiotics, or recommend you do the following:
- Use a humidifier to moisten the surrounding air. This helps to loosen any dried secretions accumulated in your sinuses.
- Use a nasal spray containing phenylephrine or ephedrine.
- Take an over-the counter oral decongestant such as Sudafed.
Once treated, you may feel better in just a few days. However, it might take up to a week for your symptoms to completely disappear, depending on the severity of infection.
Schedule a dental appointment with our south Austin dentist, Dr. Van Wicklen, by calling 512-448-3131. We are happy to serve the cities of Austin, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Bastrop, Bee Cave, Cedar Park, and communities near the 78704 zip code.