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How to Tell if Your Tooth Pain is a Sinus Infection

Your teeth hurt. You know you need to see a dentist. But in the back of your mind, a little voice wonders: Could this tooth pain just be the result of sinus pressure?

True, tooth pain can be a common symptom of sinusitis — caused by sinus pressure and by drainage from sinus infections. Sinusitis results from inflamed or swollen tissue lining the sinuses.

Sinus pain is usually felt in the upper rear teeth that are closest to the sinuses.

Symptoms of Sinusitis

Signs your toothache might be sinus pain include fever, stuffy or snotty nose, pain that gets worse if you lie down (good luck sleeping), and tender or swollen cheekbones.

The Sinus Pain Test

It can be pretty common when you’re recovering from a head cold. For some people, it can even be a chronic condition.

Try twisting your head by either bending over or doing an up and down motion, perhaps by touching your toes. Do your teeth ache more? Then your sinuses are probably swollen — this probably is not a serious dental care issue.

However, sinus infection could be the result of a diseased tooth spreading to the sinuses. It’s rare, but it happens. So it’s still a good idea to see a dentist if you feel tooth pain, especially if it doesn’t go away in a day or two.

How to Treat a Sinus Infection

If it is a sinus infection, try to treat it as best you can. Drink plenty of fluids. This keeps the membranes hydrated and thins the mucus. Get rest. Your immune system is going to need all the fight you’ve got.

Take a hot shower. The hot steam can loosen secretions and help unclog your nose. Sleeping near a humidifier also helps.

Place a Hot Towel or Cloth over Your Face to Soak

Apply a warm towel over your face and nose and soak for 20 minutes. This can help ease sinus pain, loosen up inflammation, and thin your mucus.

Over the Counter Medication

Nasal sprays, drops or tablet decongestants can help unblock your nose and provide relief. These restrict blood flow to your sinuses and reduce swelling. Only use them for a short period of time as excessive use can result in rebound congestion. Pseudoephedrine can also shrink swollen membranes.

See Your Dentist

If toothache pain does not go away in a couple of days, or the pain is excruciating, you should see a dentist. Even if you have a sinus infection, it could be the result of a diseased or fractured tooth. That’s not going to be cured by a hot washcloth.

Come into our Cincinnati office and we’ll give you a complete diagnosis. We take X-Rays to identify tooth decay or other infections.

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