You might not think it’s time to visit Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates when you feel a toothache. However, when it comes to ear, nose, and throat problems, your teeth can be innocent bystanders.
It’s not your first call, obviously. You’ll visit your dentist, who will rule out dental problems. That’s when you should investigate sinusitis as a cause for your tooth pain.
Sinuses are hollow spaces behind your nose, and their main role is the production of mucus to moisturize and protect the airways inside your nose. The mucus layer is one of the first protection points into your body, as it traps dust, dirt, pollutants, and micro-organisms like bacteria and viruses.
You’re likely more aware of mucus during an upper respiratory infection when it’s overproduced and clogs your airways.
The tissue inside the sinuses themselves can become swollen and inflamed, causing pressure as well as breathing difficulties. This condition is called sinusitis, and it most often accompanies a common cold. This type of the disease, called acute sinusitis, generally lasts for about a week, and then it clears up.
Blocked sinuses can also, though, provide bacteria with an ideal breeding ground, and it’s possible a bacterial infection could start, leading to a longer-lasting problem. Some people have sinusitis episodes that last longer than 12 weeks, at which point the condition is considered chronic.
Tooth pain can occur while your sinusitis is active. This most commonly occurs for the upper molars since their roots are close to or actually in the sinus cavities behind your cheeks.
Unlike a dental toothache, which is usually localized, toothaches resulting from sinusitis often affect several teeth, creating an ache that’s hard to pinpoint. You may not have the sharp pain that’s often associated with problems in a single tooth.
If you already have symptoms of sinusitis and your upper back teeth are aching, then the problem likely stems from pressure in your sinuses. You may feel the pain ease or increase as you move, since the pressure on your sinuses shifts. Using a decongestant could also change the sensations you feel in your teeth.
As well as the tenderness and pressure you feel around your nose, cheeks, eyes, and forehead, other common sinusitis symptoms could help you self-diagnose a related toothache. Some of these additional symptoms include:
Toothaches from sinusitis are generally easy to manage. Over-the-counter pain relievers help all of your aches and pains, including toothache. Alternating hot and cold compresses to your cheeks may also relieve some of your pressure.
Saltwater rinses lasting 30 seconds and repeated several times a day are another effective home remedy.
Contact a dentist if your toothache becomes localized or intense since that’s a sign your issue isn’t sinusitis. If your congestion and pain last longer than about 10 days, it’s time to contact Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates to have your sinusitis investigated.
Call the office in Lawrence or Ottawa, Kansas, directly to schedule your examination and consultation today. You can also send the team a message here on the website.