Toothache or Sinus Pain? How Sinuses are Connected to Teeth

Your sinuses are basically a network of hollow chambers in your skull that let air through, before it gets to your lungs, so it can be warmed and humidified. Usually, your body has a mechanism that keeps your sinuses clean, but in some instances, the bacteria can get out of control and cause an infection. In some situations, a sinus infection can feel like a toothache.

It is less common but a dental abssess or infection can affect your sinuses.

How do I differentiate between sinus pain and dental pain (i.e. toothaches)?

Although toothaches are generally caused by issues with your teeth, it is important to note that the parts adjacent to your teeth, such as the maxillary sinuses, can mimic a toothache.

During winter many patients come to the office mistaking a sinus infection for a toothache. A common symptom is they feel the toothache when they walk around or move. They have also had a history of a recent cold or flu. A dental xray will also show the sinus as “cloudy” but the tooth as healthy.

Sinus infections may be treated a variety of different ways including humidifiers, nasal sprays, antibiotics, or decongestants. However, toothaches could point to something serious so it is best to make sure nothing serious is present by consulting with your dentist first. Sometimes the issue is related to our upper teeth.

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.

Your dentist can determine whether or not your sinus has dropped from a dental xray. Dental Implants along with a sinus lift will move the the sinus lining back up and can push out settled debris. Patients often report better breathing after a sinus lift procedure and no more “toothaches”!

If in doubt seek dental advice to determine what is causing your discomfort.

A dental x-ray can go along way in uncovering the source of your nagging pains. If you have lost upper teeth or notice bizarre changes within your sinuses, then I would be happy to consult with you to discuss your concerns and work towards improving your quality of life!


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