A Toothache and Sinus Infection

A Toothache, Sinus Infection, and Intense Discomfort

It is important to remember that infected teeth can lead to developing sinus infections. If you do develop a sinus infection, it may lead to a severe and intense toothache. At the same time, if you do end up with an infected tooth, it may lead to the symptoms of sinusitis. If you do suspect that your sinus infection is related to a toothache, contact our emergency dental clinic in Lincoln, NE area.

woman experiencing toothache

How can seasonal colds or allergies cause a toothache?

The winter season is the most common time of year for colds and nasal congestion. Some patients even suffer from allergies during these cold months. Most patients are prepared for the cold symptoms they get every year, but a few may have the unpleasant surprise of a toothache. How is this possible?

 

When a patient catches a cold, bacteria and fluid from the nose can flow into the hollow space behind the nose known as the maxillary sinus. This increase in fluid leads to extreme pressure and inflammation in the maxillary sinus. As we age, our sinuses grow and can sometimes push against the roots of our upper back teeth. Each tooth has nerves that go into the tooth through the tip of the root. When our maxillary sinus becomes affected by colds or sinus infections, the bottom lining expands and puts pressure on the top back teeth, resulting in a toothache.

These toothaches are intense, continuous, and in the upper back teeth. Sometimes the toothache will be on one side and sometimes it may be on both. It is also possible for a toothache to jump to the lower teeth. This is typically seen when a toothache lasts more than two-three days. This discomfort is also continuous and is known as referred pain. The referred pain goes away with cold symptoms and toothache.

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How to treat an intense toothache?

To treat a toothache, the patient must reduce the pressure on the nerve of the tooth by reducing the pressure and fluid in the maxillary sinus. Taking a cold medicine that contains a decongestant will reduce the inflammation and fluid production in the nose and maxillary sinus. Just like any cold symptom, it will take a few days for a toothache to disappear.

A patient should contact our emergency dental clinic if a toothache does not disappear with cold or allergy symptoms. A toothache that is sharp or waking you up at night, warns a dental visit in an emergency dental clinic in Lincoln, NE as soon as possible. These characteristics are not typically seen with sinus toothaches and will likely need different treatment, such as a root canal treatment or removing an infected tooth.

Can seasonal allergies make your teeth hurt?

Our body produces more mucous to help clear out allergens from the environment. This excess of mucous causes sinus pressure to press against the nerves of our upper molars. This can mimic toothache symptoms. If your symptoms do not improve by taking decongestants or antihistamines, you should call our emergency dental clinic in Lincoln, NE to determine the cause of your symptoms.

Can allergies make your bottom teeth hurt?

It is not common, but the amount of pressure and swelling that occurs from sinus congestion can press against facial nerves, causing toothaches of the lower teeth. Sometimes patients will report that their discomfort seems to move if they move their head from side to side or bend over. If you are experiencing visible swelling of the lower jaw or a sharp, intense toothache, this is typically not related to sinus problems and should be evaluated by an emergency dental clinic in Lincoln, NE as soon as possible. 

Can allergies affect your teeth?

As your sinuses become inflamed from allergies, they could cause your teeth to experience pain that feels like a toothache from an infection.

How do I know if my toothache is a sinus infection?

Sinus infection pain is a less intense and less localized feeling that is generally described as more of an ‘aching’ feeling versus a sharp, severe pain. It may also be felt over a wider area, impacting an entire section of the jaw instead of a single tooth.

Can allergies make your gums hurt?

Nasal congestion makes it hard to breathe through the nose. When our mouth dries out from mouth-breathing, it causes gum irritation. The saliva that normally coats the teeth and all of the soft tissue in the mouth is dried out from mouth breathing and taking antihistamines and can contribute to swollen gums that bleed easily. The drying of the mouth can also allow more bacteria to grow on the teeth, adding to the inflammation of the gum tissue. 

Can allergies make your jaw hurt?

The nerves that innervate the upper and lower jaw are branched, so if enough sinus pressure builds near these nerves it is possible that the jaw could be affected by sinus congestion. Sleep disturbances from trouble breathing can also cause some patients to grind and clench their teeth throughout the night. This can also cause lower jaw discomfort or a toothache. Usually the type of discomfort patients experience is more of a dull and ongoing ache, and not a sharp or intense discomfort. Our emergency dental clinic in Lincoln, NE can help you identify and treat the causes of your tooth discomfort. 

Can gums bleed from ragweed allergies?

Drying of the soft tissues in the mouth during mouth-breathing with a stuffy nose can cause plaque to form more quickly on the teeth. Saliva naturally helps keep our teeth clean, so when the mouth is dry this creates an area where more plaque can accumulate along the gum-line. This contributes to gingivitis and gum irritation. 

What is a good antihistamine for ragweed allergy?

Zyrtec, Allegra, and Claritin are all great options you can try to help reduce your allergy symptoms.

What are some natural home remedies for dealing with ragweed allergies?

Taking Vitamin D helps support the immune system as well as drinking a lot of fluids. It is a good idea to avoid dairy products, as they have been shown to increase mucous production. Stay inside during days with high pollen count and make sure to wash hair and pillowcases frequently to control the allergens near the face. 

Ask dentists at Lincoln Family Dentistry any questions you may have about your sinus toothache.

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