Sinus Infection and Toothache: What is the Connection? - Dentist Ahmed (2023)

Do you know that sinus infection or sinus inflammation can lead to toothache?

Both sinus infection and inflammation can lead to toothache. A sinus infection occurs when the tissue lining of the sinus becomes inflamed and swollen.

However, tooth pain is a common symptom of sinusitis and can be due to pressure in the sinus and by draining from a sinus infection.

You can experience pain in the upper rear teeth that are closest to the sinuses. There are two types of sinus infections: chronic sinus infections and acute sinusitis.

Both of these can cause pain and pressure as well as nasal congestion.

The sinuses are small pockets of air pockets present behind your forehead, nose, cheekbones, and in between your eyes.

They produce mucus, which is a thin layer as well as a flowing liquid that protects your body by trapping and moving the germs away.

However, in some cases, bacteria or allergens can cause them to make too much mucus form and in turn, it blocks the openings of your sinuses.

Let’s learn more about the connection between sinus infection and toothaches and causes, symptoms, and treatment.

Sinus Infection and Toothache: The Connection

The sinus is 4 pairs of air-filled spaces found in the facial bones near your eyes, forehead, and behind your cheekbones.

Moreover, they warm, moisten, and filter the air into your nasal cavity and also has the ability to produce mucus which drains in the nasal cavity and cleans your nose.

However, when you have a sinus infection, the congestion and pressure that accompany it can cause discomfort or pain in your upper teeth.

This is because the roots of your upper teeth and jawbone are near the sinuses.

In some cases, this is also termed as referred pain, and the discomfort spreads to the lower teeth as well.

Sinus Infection and Toothache: What is the Connection? - Dentist Ahmed (1)

The symptoms of regular toothache and sinus toothache are similar.

(Video) Is it toothache or sinusitis?

However, you mostly feel sinus toothache in your upper teeth and upper jaw.

If you have sinus toothache along with other symptoms, then it means that you have a sinus toothache.

Moreover, you may also feel a bit low in energy or under the weather or might also have a fever.

It is important to note that pain with a sinus infection may also intensify with certain movements.

These include jumping up pr bending over. This is because the pressure in your sinus shifts as you move and you can feel it in your teeth.

Other Symptoms of Sinus Infection

In most cases, the sinus infection starts or begins as a regular viral cold and turns into a bacterial infection.

Other causes of this infection can be allergens, bacterial or fungal infections and changes in temperature or air pressure can also cause it.

Moreover, chemical irritants, asthma, and low humidity can also increase your risk of developing sinusitis.

Often the symptoms of sinus infection are similar to cold and nasal allergy symptoms.

You may have head congestion, a runny or stuffy nose, or a cough.

Additional symptoms are pressure or tenderness around your nose, eyes, or forehead.

Thick, discolored muse, bad-tasting nasal drip, halitosis or bad breath, fever, tiredness, and loss of smell and taste.

Moreover, you might also experience a sore throat and hoarse voice.

Who is at risk of Sinus Infections?

Anyone can develop a sinus infection, however, certain factors can increase your chances of developing ones.

These are a deviated nasal septum, nasal polyps, a history of allergens, contact with mold, and a weak immune system.

Sinus Infection and Toothache: What is the Connection? - Dentist Ahmed (2)

Moreover, smoking, upper respiratory infection, cystic fibrosis, dental infection, and traveling by airplane can increase your chances.

(Video) Shelby Township Dentist Explains Sinus Related Toothache

A deviated nasal septum is when the wall of the tissue that runs between your right and left nostrils displaces to one side.

While nasal polyps are noncancerous growths in the nose.

Home Remedies

There are a number of treatments for sinus infections, however, it is important that you treat the symptoms as soon as possible.

You can start with a few drops of these home remedies and move to traditional treatment if you do not see results.

Here are a few options to treat sinus infection:

Stay Hydrated: Drinking water is a key to relieving sinus infections.

Thus, make sure to drink enough water and getting plenty of liquids. This helps the mucus to become thin and reduces pressure and blockage of the sinus.

Moreover, hot liquids like soup and tea are especially soothing.

Sinus Infection and Toothache: What is the Connection? - Dentist Ahmed (3) Sinus Infection and Toothache: What is the Connection? - Dentist Ahmed (4)

Steam: Breathing in hot, moist air can help to open the nasal passage and relieve sinus pressure.

Simply boiling the water and inhaling the steam for a few minutes can help open your nasal passage.

Sinus Flush: Rinsing your sinuses with a saline solution can help to moisten your sinuses while clearing away allergens and discharge.

Moreover, you can use a nasal sprayer, neti pot, or nasal irrigation system to clean them.

Limit the use of Decongestant Sprays: While decongestant nasal sprays can be a good option for treating sinus congestion for the short term.

However, if you use them in excess, they can lead to rebound congestions, and instead of preventing it, you may develop tolerance.

Treatment for Sinusitis

If home remedies are not effective in treating sinus infection or it keeps on coming back, then you can always use prescription medications to get rid of it.

This may include a decongestant, steroid nasal spray, or mucus thinning medicine.

(Video) Can Sinus Infection cause toothache? - Dr. Sangeeta Honnur

Alternatively, allergy-relieving medications can also be used, however, you should always consult your doctor before using them.

Using Antibiotics

If your symptoms do not improve with the help of home remedies and OTC or over-the-counter medications, then you are most likely to have a bacterial infection.

For this, you will have to visit your doctor.

Sinus Infection and Toothache: What is the Connection? - Dentist Ahmed (5)

You may need antibiotic therapy for symptoms like runny nose, congestion, cough, continued facial pain or headaches, eye swelling, or a fever.

If you receive antibiotics, then you will have to use them for 3 to 14 days depending on your doctor’s instructions.

Do not stop them from taking earlier as this allow the bacterial infection to fester and possibly not resolve fully.

You may also need to schedule another appointment for your doctor to monitor your condition.

If your infection does not improve or worsen by the next visit, they may refer you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist.

Toothache Treatments

There are a few options to treat a toothache before going to a dentist.

You can try:

OTC pain relievers: You can treat minor toothache pain with an OCT, over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, Advil, or Motrin.

Moreover, topical numbing pastes for pain relief can also be used for pain relief.

Sinus Infection and Toothache: What is the Connection? - Dentist Ahmed (6)

However, you should not use products that contain benzocaine especially in children under age 2.

Hot and Cold Therapy: Alternatively, you can use heat and cold therapy, pad, or cold compress on the affected area for 15 minutes at a time.

(Video) How To Figure Out if Your Patient Has a Toothache or Sinus Infection

You can do this a few times throughout the day to relieve pain.

Saltwater Rinse: A saltwater rinse can help to relieve inflammation and treat oral wounds.

Rinsing your mouth with this solution for 30 seconds a day can help. You can try this several times throughout the day.

Learn more about Toothache remedies here.

When to Visit a Doctor

You should visit your dentist if the persistent toothache lasts for some time, does not go away after the infection, or causes severe discomfort.

Your dentist can determine whether it is due to periodontal diseases, cavities, or dental abscesses.

Moreover, grinding your teeth can also cause it.

However, visit your doctor if your dentist is not able to find the cause of your toothache.

They can assess whether a sinus condition or any other medical condition is causing it.

In the same way, visit your doctor if the sinus infection does not get better after treatment or if any of your symptoms are painful or severe. They might refer you to an ear, nose, and throat, ENT specialist.

It is important to get it checked as sinusitis can be due to structural issues like narrow drainage passages, tumors, or a shifted nasal septum.

Preventing a Sinus Infection

As a sinus infection develops after a cold, flu, or allergic reaction, a healthy lifestyle and reducing exposure to germs and allergens can help prevent infection.

To reduce your risk, you can:

Get a flu vaccine, eat healthy foods, and wash your hands regularly.

Moreover, limiting your exposure to smoke, chemicals, pollen, and other allergens or irritants, taking antihistamine medications, and avoiding exposure to those with active respiratory infections like cold or flu.

The bottom Line

Sinus infections can cause a number of symptoms including toothaches, especially in the upper rear teeth. Although they can cause discomfort, both issues are mostly simple and easy to resolve. Moreover, once you treat them your tooth pain will go away.

Most often symptoms improve or clear within a week or so, however, if they don’t, talk to your doctor if the sinus congestion or infection persists after treatment or if the symptoms worsen after taking medications and trying home remedies. They will refer to an ENT or an ear, nose, and throat doctor to diagnose the cause of infection.

(Video) Sinus Infection Management


Is it normal to get toothache with sinusitis? ›

Yes, a sinus infection (sinusitis) can cause a toothache. In fact, pain in the upper back teeth is a fairly common symptom with sinus conditions. The sinuses are pairs of empty spaces in your skull connected to the nasal cavity. If you have sinusitis, the tissues in those spaces become inflamed, often causing pain.

Can you have a tooth infection and sinus infection at the same time? ›

Sinusitis or an infection of the sinuses may correlate or co-occur with a toothache. Sometimes, an infected tooth affects the sinuses, and sometimes it is the other way around.

What type of sinus infection causes tooth pain? ›

Signs of chronic maxillary sinusitis include:

Cough. Persistent sinus toothache.

How do you know if tooth pain is sinus related? ›

Sinus tooth pain is felt mainly in the upper molars and affects several teeth instead of just one. Sinus pain felt in the teeth can also cause you to have a low-grade fever. A toothache that is caused by dental problems will likely only hurt one tooth and be more intense.

How do you stop a sinus infection from hurting your teeth? ›

How To Relieve Tooth Pain From Sinus Pressure
  1. Pinpoint When the Tooth Pain Started. When tooth pain coincides with a sinus infection, it means the pain should subside with the clearing of the sinus issue. ...
  2. Stay Hydrated to Combat Sinus Pressure. ...
  3. Use Decongestants and Expectorants. ...
  4. Sleep Away Your Sinus Pressure.
Jul 2, 2019

What is the home remedy for unbearable sinus tooth pain? ›

Treating a Sinus Toothache

Warm drinks can be especially helpful. Steam can also help to open up your sinuses and allow them to drain, so you might want to steam your face or take a hot shower. Another solution is to rinse out your sinuses using a nasal spray, a Neti pot or a nasal irrigation system.

How long does tooth pain from sinus infection last? ›

So how long does a sinus toothache last? Unless other factors contribute to your tooth pain, it should stop when your sinus infection goes away. While sinus infections — and the resulting toothaches — can be painful, the Mayo Clinic reassures patients that they usually clear up within seven to 10 days.

How long does it take for tooth pain to go away sinus infection? ›

Toothaches due to a sinus infection can last around 7-10 days, so be sure to contact them if your symptoms persist longer than this timeframe. There may be other underlying causes for your teeth pain.

Which teeth are connected to the sinuses? ›

Our upper teeth are linked very closely with the maxillary sinus. Many times the roots of these teeth hold up the lining of your sinus. When you lose one or more of your upper back teeth, your sinus lining can drop. Many people report the side of their nose with the lost tooth to feel more “stuffy” over time.

How do you tell if you have a tooth infection or sinus infection? ›

If you're feeling pain on both sides of your face, then you're probably experiencing a sinus infection. If you press down directly on a tooth and do not experience direct, immediate pain, then it's most likely not a toothache.

Can I go to the dentist with a sinus infection? ›

Yes, you can go to the dentist if you are sick. However, if you are throwing-up, have a fever, or if you are contagious, you should not visit the dentist.

How do I know if my tooth infection has spread to sinus? ›

The maxillary sinus is located behind the cheekbones close to the roots of the upper back teeth. Therefore an infection in the upper teeth can spread to the maxillary sinus rather easily. Symptoms of this type of sinus infection include post nasal drip and sinus congestion.

Do you need antibiotics for sinus infection? ›

Antibiotics are not needed for many sinus infections. Most sinus infections usually get better on their own without antibiotics. When antibiotics aren't needed, they won't help you, and their side effects could still cause harm. Side effects can range from mild reactions, like a rash, to more serious health problems.

Does Orajel help sinus toothache? ›

Toothache home remedies

Topical numbing pastes or gels containing benzocaine (Anbesol, Orajel) can also be used for pain relief.

What antibiotics treat sinus toothache? ›

Treatment for infectious sinusitis is amoxicillin. If a person is allergic to amoxicillin, a doctor may prescribe doxycycline or clarithromycin.

What medicine is best for toothache? ›

“Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin or naproxen work well with dental pain because they reduce inflammation,” says Huang. Recent data has shown the combination of Advil (ibuprofen) and Tylenol (acetaminophen) is as effective as prescription opioids for tooth pain.

Which tooth is closest to sinus? ›

The present study also found the first premolar root tip to be farthest and the second molar buccodistal root tip to be closest to the sinus floor on both right and left sides.

What happens if tooth goes into sinus? ›

Chronic Sinus Infections Can Be Caused By Infected Teeth

In some cases, the root can actually poke through the floor of the sinus. In a severe tooth infection, the bacteria may cause the bone to decay and break down, allowing the infection to spread into your sinus lining, causing sinusitis.

Is it my sinuses or my teeth? ›

A true test to know whether or not the pain you have is from your sinuses is to apply pressure directly to your teeth or gums. While your sinus cavities can be tender to the touch, they will not cause a tooth to be tender.

Should I cancel my dentist appointment if I have a sinus infection? ›

If you have a heavy cough or congestion. You will not be comfortable with keeping your mouth open for a prolonged period and the bacteria or virus will be airborne, thus possibly infecting the dental team.

Can a tooth that needs a root canal cause a sinus infection? ›

If your root canal is not successful and your tooth remains infected, it may cause sinusitis as it gets worse. This is known as “sinusitis of dental origin.” The bacteria may spread from the roots of your upper teeth into your sinuses, causing a sinus infection.

What is the best antibiotic for a sinus infection? ›

The recommended choices are amoxicillin or amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate (Augmentin) for 5 to 10 days. Doxycycline is a good alternative for people with penicillin allergy, followed by levofloxacin or moxifloxacin.

What is the best antibiotic for a tooth infection? ›

Amoxicillin is usually the first choice for tooth infection treatment. If your tooth infection is more serious, your dentist may prescribe a combination of amoxicillin and another drug called Clavulanate.
Penicillins are a group of antibiotics including:
  • Penicillin.
  • Amoxicillin.
  • Amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate.
Jan 11, 2022

What are the 4 main symptoms of sinusitis? ›

Drainage down the back of the throat (postnasal drainage) Blocked or stuffy (congested) nose causing difficulty breathing through your nose. Pain, tenderness and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead. Reduced sense of smell and taste.

What is the quickest way to get rid of a sinus infection? ›

These self-help steps can help relieve sinusitis symptoms:
  1. Rest. This will help your body fight infection and speed recovery.
  2. Drink fluids. Continue to drink plenty of fluids.
  3. Use a warm compress. ...
  4. Moisten your sinus cavities. ...
  5. Rinse your nasal passages.
Aug 27, 2021

How do I know if my sinus infection is bacterial? ›

Symptoms of bacterial sinusitis
  1. Pressure or pain around the nose, in the forehead, in the cheeks or around the eyes. The pain often gets worse if the affected person bends forward.
  2. Discolored, thick nasal discharge.
  3. Decreased sense of smell and ability to taste.
  4. Stuffy nose.
  5. Bad breath.
Sep 14, 2022

How long does sinusitis toothache last? ›

Toothaches due to a sinus infection can last around 7-10 days, so be sure to contact them if your symptoms persist longer than this timeframe. There may be other underlying causes for your teeth pain.

How to tell the difference between a sinus infection and a tooth abscess? ›

How can you tell an abscessed tooth from a sinus infection? Sinus pain usually manifests itself as a dull, continuous pain while the pain from an abscessed tooth increases in intensity. If you tap on an abscessed tooth, you will probably feel a sharp jolt of pain.

Do I need antibiotics for a sinus infection? ›

Antibiotics are not needed for many sinus infections. Most sinus infections usually get better on their own without antibiotics. When antibiotics aren't needed, they won't help you, and their side effects could still cause harm. Side effects can range from mild reactions, like a rash, to more serious health problems.


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