Sinus Congestion Causing Tooth Pain

Author: Dr. Alison Vitelli, DMD

Recently we have been seeing several cases of severe sinus congestion that is the cause of a toothache. But why?

The maxillary sinus is a membrane. It lines the cavity in our head and on both sides of the nose where air flows through. Sometimes, allergies promote a response from our immune system and create thick mucus that sits at the base of the maxillary sinuses. The anatomy of the sinus varies from patient to patient. Some sinuses are quite low, to the point where molars and some premolars on the upper arch extend their roots into the sinus cavity. When there is congestion and mucus present in the sinuses, this pushes the back teeth down, also known as extrusion. This temporary extrusion is just a less than a  millimeter but, it is enough to create pressure on the ligament that holds the tooth to the bone, and also enough to alter the bite. This can cause temperature sensitivity, as well as pain upon chewing. 

The good news is that this pain is temporary and will go away after sinuses are cleared up. Severe sinus congestion will often require antibiotic treatment in conjunction with nasal decongestant and sinus rinses. This spring season, stay healthy and enjoy the beauty of the season!