Do You Have Sinus Pressure or a Toothache?

woman holding the sides of her nose in pain

We’ve all felt the alarming sensation of oral pain that we’re certain is tied to an aching tooth, but did you know that sometimes that sensation isn’t related to a tooth at all? Recent research and lifelong experience have revealed that sometimes tooth pain is actually related to blocked sinuses! If you take excellent care of your teeth and haven’t experienced any kind of tooth pain before, you may actually be experiencing pain from a sinus blockage, so give your dentist a call to be certain.

Tooth Pain Caused By Sinus Pressure? How’s That Work?
It all has to do with how the body is constructed, and specifically how the sinuses are both designed and function. Sinuses are these hollow cavities that have a rather important purpose in the human body, warming the air before it has a chance to enter your lungs, helping to protect your core body temperature. Unfortunately, the mucous membrane that lines the sinuses can become infected by bacteria or viruses, leading to inflammation and potential blockage of the passage. Now all those bacteria can’t get out and start growing in your sinuses, which can lead to building pressure (which is painful) and often a bad taste in your mouth.

So how does all this cause the sensation we typically associate with tooth pain? Simple. Your upper molars are located very close to some of your sinus passages, and the swelling and pressure of a sinus infection can actually cause these teeth to experience pain. Tooth pain can actually increase over time as the infection goes on, especially as the pressure begins to build. If you experience chronic nasal congestion it may be accompanied by pain in your upper molars.

How Can I Tell The Difference?
Your diagnostic method is going seem a little ridiculous and incredibly easy, bend over. If the pain in your mouth increases when you bend over at the waist odds are good you’re experiencing sinus pain, not a toothache. You may also experience increased pain in your teeth when suffering from the flu, or traveling on an airplane. Less definitive symptoms include aching jaw, face, and sinuses that are described by most patients as being a dull ache. While it’s less common the pain can also be felt in the lower teeth, but it’s a phantom pain known as ‘referred pain’, a condition that occurs fairly regularly in the mouth.

What Can I Do To Help Ease The Pain?
If you’ve had symptoms that have lasted longer than a week it’s time to take a visit to your doctor, who will determine an appropriate course of treatment and confirm that you have a sinus infection. They may even find it necessary to refer you to an ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) specialist if your condition is particularly bad or is showing itself to be a chronic condition. While it certainly isn’t always the case, it can be a real relief to learn that all your hard work at maintaining good dental hygiene hasn’t gone to waste, you’re just experiencing a sinus infection! If you need an appointment or consultation, give the Sadati Center for Aesthetic Dentistry and get on the road to solving your dental pain!