Why Toothaches and Sinus Pain Occur Together
Both sinus pain and toothaches are very painful, and unfortunately, these two conditions can occur together. The term “sinus toothache” is used to describe tooth pain that is caused by an inflammation of the sinuses, rather than strictly a dental problem.
This type of toothache is often caused when mucous cannot drain out of the sinus cavity or when the sinus cavity’s airflow is restricted. The common cold, allergies, pollutants, and sinus polyps can all lead to this type of pain.
This article will explore the connection between toothaches and sinus pain and offer some suggestions for identifying this type of pain and finding relief.
Commonality of Toothaches with Sinus Pain
The centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that at least 28 million adults in the US suffer from sinusitis.2 To make matters worse, pressure in the nasal cavity can press onto the teeth and cause additional pain here. The upper back teeth are most commonly affected by sinus toothaches because this is where the maxillary sinuses are located above the upper jaws. The amount of pain in the teeth depends on how severe the sinus infection is and how much swelling has taken place along the roots of the infected sinuses.1,3
Differentiating between Types of Tooth Pain
It is often difficult to determine the difference between true sinus tooth pain and tooth pain due to a dental issue when one’s entire head is throbbing. Both types of pain feel similar, so it is necessary to look at the other symptoms present besides the toothache.1,3
Sinus inflammation may be to blame for tooth pain if the tooth pain occurs a few days after one has suffered symptoms of a cold. Sinus toothaches often feel more painful with movement but feel better when lying down or sitting still. Sudden movements create instant throbbing pain in the upper teeth with sinus toothaches. This condition also typically affects more than one tooth at the same time. A proper diagnosis of sinus toothache is the key to preventing unnecessary dental treatments and allowing the sinus infection to heal quickly.
Relief for Concurrent Toothaches and Sinus Pain
Fortunately, there are some effective ways to relieve pain that occurs both in the sinuses and in the teeth at the same time. It is important to treat infection in the body to relieve pressure on the sinus cavities and teeth. Decongestants, antihistamines, and antibiotics may be used to rid the sinuses of infection. Steam inhalation and nasal sprays can assist with the sinus pain, while eating softer foods can make toothache pain more manageable.3,4
It is also advised to drink plenty of water because hydration helps to decrease mucous buildup, thereby reducing inflammation. Eating spicy foods to open up the sinuses and taking an over-the-counter expectorant to drain mucous may help as well. Studies have shown that humming in different tones may actually decrease sinus pain and pressure by naturally vibrating the face and relaxing facial muscles. It may also help to keep the head in a propped-up and tilted position while sleeping to aid drainage.3,4
References for Why Toothaches and Sinus Pain Occur Together
2. CDC. Sinusitis. Retrieved on September 23, 2019 from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/sinuses.htm.
3. Cronkleton, Emily. Healthline. Can a Sinus Infection Cause a Toothache? Retrieved on September 23, 2019 from https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/sinus-toothache.
4. Healthy Women. Sinusitis. Retrieved on August 24, 2019 from https://www.healthywomen.org/condition/sinusitis.
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