It must be a consensus that sinus problems and toothaches are two of the most irritating, frustrating and painful problems we deal with. The worst part may be the fact that there is no miracle cure to either one, none that brings instant relief. Can one be the cause of the other? Where our sinuses are located is not that far from our teeth. Do sinus problems actually affect our teeth, causing pain? I’ve always heard there is a direct correlation, but never really been told exactly how that is possible. Do you have chronic sinus issues and experience tooth pain as a result? Let’s see if we can explain the mystery that ties our sinuses to our teeth!
Whether it’s sinus inflammation or a sinus infection, both can be a leading cause of tooth pain or toothache. Sinus drainage and sinus pressure can be brought on by sinusitis and allergies. Sinusitis is an inflammatory form of the paranasal sinuses, these are specific air cavities located in your face. There are two types of sinusitis:
- Chronic sinusitis – Inflamed sinuses that can last for 3 months or more
- Acute sinusitis – Temporary, short term sinus inflammation or swelling that can come as a result of a cold or allergy flare up.
Sinusitis can develop into a sinus infection, wreaking havoc on your sinuses and possibly affecting your teeth. The symptoms of sinus infections are:
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Swelling and inflammation can cause pressure and facial pain
- Colored, thick mucus
- Ear fluid or pain
- Loss of taste and smell
- Sore throat
- Tooth pain – usually in the rear, upper teeth, closer to the sinuses
Regular Toothaches vs Sinus Tooth Pain
We’ve established that sinus problems can cause tooth pain, but how can you tell if your tooth pain is being caused by your sinuses or if it’s coming from an issue with your teeth? Regular toothaches can occur for many reasons:
- Broken tooth
- Tooth decay
- An infection caused by bacteria inside the tooth (abscessed tooth)
- Damage to a filling
- Gums that are infected
- Clenching or grinding your teeth
- Teeth coming through the gum (eruption) or removal of teeth
- Sensitive teeth
Sinus tooth pain is a different kind of pain that is caused by the accumulation of mucus in your sinuses, causing them to swell which can put pressure on the nerves that are connected to the roots of your top teeth, in the cheek and nose area of your face. The best way to describe sinus toothache:
- Comes in the upper teeth, in the back of your mouth
- Result of sinus pain, pressure
- Symptom of a sinus infection
- Symptom of seasonal allergies
- Can become worse by different types of movement (bending over, jumping up and down because as you move, sinus pressure shifts)
How To Treat Sinus Tooth Pain
How to treat your sinus tooth pain boils down to treating your sinusitis, sinus infection or sinus pressure, whichever catalyst is causing the pain. Many Americans deal with chronic sinus issues. US News And World Report states that over 37 million Americans are affected in some way by sinus problems and those people have spent about 6 billion dollars a year trying to treat it. Whether it be over the counter medications, home remedies, or doctor visits, here’s some ways we can try to relieve the sinus pain and pressure causing our misery:
- Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water. This also helps thin out your mucus, making it less like to block your sinus passages.
- Flushing out your sinuses can prevent pressure caused by blockages. There are premade solutions you can buy, saline, solutions, nasal sprays, neti pots or nasal irrigation systems that can help.
- Hot steam helps your sinuses. Whether it is taking hot, steamy showers, or covering your head with a towel over some boiling water, this is an easy, effective way to relieve sinus pain and pressure.
- Get plenty of rest
- Antibiotics may be required if your sinus problem has turned into a sinus infection and your doctor can help you determine that and if an antibiotic is necessary.
- You can alternate hot and cold compresses for your sinuses and for sinus related toothaches.
- Over the counter medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help ease the pain of sinus pressure and toothache and over the counter decongestants are sometimes helpful in reducing pain, pressure and blocked sinus passages. For your health and safety, be sure to discuss any medications with your physician before taking them.
A Sinus Routine
Those of us with chronic sinus problems can tell you, we’ve done it all, tried it all, and most of the time we have found a good “sinus routine” that works for us. Whether sinus trouble is environmental, allergy related, or unexplainable, there are a lot of good tools and practices that can take you from miserable to bearable. The best place to start is your personal physician. They can give you great options and, if one doesn’t work, try them all, one at time with your doctor’s guidance. For me it was taking all the options I was given and trying several different things until I found what worked best for me. There’s no guarantee sinus issues will ever disappear permanently, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle and learning the triggers and warning signs has helped me to manage my sinus problems very well. My hope is that you find what helps you and allows you the stability to manage your issues and continue a happy, full life!
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