Sinus Infections and Your Teeth

Scott News Update

If you’ve ever experienced a sinus infection, you know that it’s a mostly uncomfortable experience that hopefully ends quickly. What you might not know, however, is that there is a link between sinus infections and your teeth. Sinuses are chambers in your head that allow air to circulate and get warm before it heads to your lungs, and they surround your mouth. Studies show that up to 20% of maxillary sinus infections are caused by tooth infections.

One way a dental problem can lead to a sinus infection is by an abscess that extends into the sinuses. An abscess tooth can occasionally extend towards the sinus barrier and spread an infection. If, for example, a procedure is done incorrectly the abscess will leak into the sinuses and cause a chronic infection that lasts longer than is standard. For treatment of this kind, a tooth would have to be extracted and in severe cases, the sinuses may have to be explored to remove any problematic matter.

On the flip side of this information, it’s important to note that your sinuses can also cause a tooth infection. If a patient has severe tooth pain, a doctor will generally test to see if the teeth have any cavities or infections that could be causing the pain. If it appears that the pain is not coming from one specific tooth, then it generally means that the cause is something else–in this case, the sinuses.

Fortunately, there are several at-home treatments for sinusitis that can help ease the pain of these conditions. Some of these treatments are:

  • Using a humidifier to moisten the air that you’re breathing. This helps to loosen any dried secretions that have accumulated in the sinuses.
  • Using nasal spray that contains phenylephrine or ephedrine.
  • Taking an oral decongestant.
  • Taking prescribed antibiotics if it is believed that the sinusitis is caused by bacteria.

If you have any other questions or concerns about your teeth or possible infections, give us a call at 508-872-4897 to schedule an appointment.