Tooth pain from sinusitis is somewhat different from the generally known tooth pain. The achy and unpleasant feeling in the tooth that you experience does not always or exclusively come from periodontal diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis, sometimes the cause may be from the sinus.
Tooth pain from sinus occurs as a result of infection to the sinuses or inflammation of the sinuses. It is one of the symptoms of sinusitis and will most likely not be diagnosed by your dentist. However, after examination by your dentist, when he or she finds no dental cause for your tooth pain, your dentist will refer you to a doctor, who will now be able to probe further and realize that your tooth pain is from a sinus infection or inflammation.
In this article, you will get an explanation on how you can get tooth pain from sinus. You will also have an understanding of what the sinus is and its anatomy. We won’t leave out the common sinus disease, sinusitis, and how it contributes to your tooth pain. Expect to get some tips on how to deal with tooth pain from sinus.
What is a Sinus?
Actually, that heading should read, “What are Sinuses?”, because there are eight sinuses in every human face, spread across the forehead, between the eyes, the nose, and cheekbones.
The sinuses are little air-filled sacs that are located in different parts of the head entrusted with the responsibility of clearing the body of germs by trapping them with mucus – a thin, flowing liquid – and moving them out of the body. Despite the presence of these cavities in other parts of the head, Sinus usually refers to the ones around the eyes and the nose.
The sinuses in the forehead, above the nose bridge and on either side of it, are called the frontal sinuses; the ones between the eyes are the ethmoid sinuses; in the cheekbones, on either side of the face, are the maxillary sinuses, and the sphenoid sinuses are located behind the ethmoid sinuses.
The sinuses have soft tissues lining their interior. These tissues are normally moist and allow air that you breathe in pass through them, on their way to the lungs, in order to filter bacteria out of them and get rid of them through the thin mucus they produce.
Problems develop when the soft tissues in the sinuses become inflamed, or as a result of some infection, the sinuses are unable to drain themselves of the mucus they have built up. When this happens, they start to produce abnormally thick mucus as opposed to the normally thin, free-flowing mucus liquid.
Sinusitis is a common infection that affects the sinuses. It is caused by the inability of the soft tissues to open up its pore – due to excess mucus – thereby disallowing the bacteria and other allergens it has trapped and stopped from entering the lungs from leaving the hollow cavities. The continued presence of these pathogens leads to the formation of abnormally thick and yellowy mucus which continue to build up in the sinuses.
Since the sinuses are connected, it is possible that the infection may spread – in case the mucus gets to escape into other sinuses. However, in a case where there is impossible movement of mucus, the sinus becomes clogged, leading to uncomfortable feeling and increased pressure in the cavity.
Sinusitis can last for some days and sometimes weeks, depending on the causative pathogen. Sinusitis caused by a viral infection usually clears off within two to three days. However, bacterial sinusitis takes up to months.
Symptoms of Sinusitis
The symptoms of sinusitis span from uncomfortable feeling of fullness in the nose to loss of smell and taste. However, the severity of the symptoms varies from person to person, and from infection to infection. Here are some of them.
- Ear pain or fullness
- Sore throat
- Thick and discoloured mucus discharge
- Pressure around the nose and eyes, sometimes, the forehead
- Bad breath
- Hoarse voice
One other symptom of sinusitis is tooth pain. This can happen when the maxillary sinuses are infected and the pressure build up reaches the teeth.
With tooth pain from sinus, the pain is usually different from the pain gotten when there is a dental infection. In this case, the pain usually worsens when there is a shift in the pressure point in the sinuses. Usually, when an individual with sinus infection sits in an upright position, the pressure is evenly distributed in the hollow cavity of the sinuses. However, if they get to bend over, or stand, the pressure shifts and may cause tooth pain.
Tooth pain from sinus does not isolate a tooth to affect, it usually affects the molars at the back of the mouth.
How to Deal with Tooth Pain from Sinus
Dealing with tooth pain from sinus means dealing with sinusitis, and there a few home treatments that can help with that. If your sinusitis is caused by a viral infection, there is probably no medication to kill off the virus, rather the medications in this case will handle the individual symptoms as your antibodies fight the pathogen.
However, bacterial sinusitis can be treated, even though it may take some time.
Before you resort to using medical treatments, here are some tips you can apply at home to treat sinusitis and tooth pain from sinus.
Steaming the sinuses
The reason for the tooth pain from sinus is the amount of pressure in the sinuses, especially the maxillary sinuses. To relieve this pressure, you can allow hot, moist air get into your nostrils, and inadvertently, into the sinuses. The heat of the air makes the thick mucus in the sinuses, less viscous, and allows some space for the soft tissues in the sinuses to open up, consequently relieving the pressure.
You can achieve this by taking hot showers, or covering your head with a towel while it is over a steaming water.
Flushing the sinuses
Another way to relieve pressure in the sinuses is to flush it with saline solution. There are premixed solutions that can be purchased in local pharmacies. You will also need one of a nasal irrigation system, nasal sprayer, or a neti pot to achieve this.
The idea behind it is to disrupt the pathogens by introducing a continuous (for a short time) flow of saline solution through the sinus in one side of the nose bridge and exit it from the other side when it has passed through both sinuses.
The importance of keeping hydrated cannot be overemphasized. However, in this case, it is preferable that you hydrate with a hot beverage or soup. This stimulates pores in your body to open, and by so doing, opens up the pores in your sinus, relieving the pressure the mucus build-up has caused.
To specifically target your toothache, you can try any of the following.
If all the above home treatment tips do not work to relieve you of your tooth pain (which is unlikely), use over-the-counter pain relivers to help numb the pain you feel in your teeth. Amphetamine will do.
Rinse your mouth with saltwater several times daily to disinfect your mouth in case there are wounds in there causing the pain. The wounds might be infected, and this treatment will help.
Hot and Cold Treatment
Use heat pads and cold compresses to relieve the pressure in the area you feel it. apply this treatment several times in a day, for 15 minutes at a time, to the affected area.
Tooth pain from sinus is one of the symptoms of sinusitis, a condition that affects the air-filled sacs that are located in different parts of the head. They can be infected, and their pores blocked, causing build-up of pressure due to the excessive presence of thick mucus in them.
The pressure leads to tooth pain, especially if the maxillary sinuses are the affected ones, and it worsens when the pressure shifts, for instance, when the affected person leans forward, disrupting the rest of the mucus.
You can deal with the tooth pain from sinus by using saline solution to rinse your sinuses or mouth, using heat treatment to relieve the pressure, taking hot soup and beverages, or using over-the-counter pain killers, such as paracetamol.