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Toothache or Sinus Infection?

With cold and flu season is upon us, it is tempting to say that toothache you have is caused by sinus pressure and will go away with the cold. But there may another reason. A quick visit to Emergency Dental can help you determine if you have sinusitis, or perhaps something else.

When you have a cold, congestion blocks air flow in the sinuses, and can result in infection.  As you age your sinuses can grow in size and get closer to the roots and nerves of the upper teeth.  This inflammation can puts pressure on the nerves and can cause tooth pain.  But the same process can work in reverse.  Infection in a tooth can cause an abscess, or pocket of infection that puts pressure on the sinus, creating inflammation of the sinus lining.  Doctors at Emergency Dental can take an x-ray to see if the cause of this discomfort is originating from a cloudy sinus or an unhealthy tooth.

It can be hard to differentiate if the pain you are feeling has origins in your sinus or your teeth.  Some symptoms of these two conditions mimic each other including fever, swollen glands, and pain. Usually a sinus infection includes a stuffed up or runny nose, headache, a cough and sore throat as well.  A tooth abscess will usually have pain when you bite down on one side rather than both.  A toothache, unlike a cold will also get worse over time without treatment. If you are unsure where your pain falls,  feel free to contact our office and we can help.

To find relief  for sinus related tooth pain you can try over the counter decongestants, expectorants, and pain relief.  Decongestants tend dry out the sinuses, while expectorants break down the mucus. Steam usually helps open the passages in sinuses as well keep them moist.  As the cold symptoms decrease, so will the pressure in sinuses and the tooth pain.  If this isn’t happening, you may need to call your health care provider.  If the toothache was there prior to the cold or if it is so severe that it wakes you up at night, it is probably a good idea to see an Emergency Dentist to get you back on the road to health.


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