Cold or a sinus infection you can’t seem to shake? It might have to do with a problem with your teeth!

It’s that time of year again… along with the cold weather comes, well…colds. Stuffy noses, sore throats, headaches, coughing – you know the drill. ‘Tis the season.

But did you know that an infection or abscess in your back teeth can spread into your maxillary sinus and cause an infection there as well?

As you might know, you have several sinuses, but only one of those sets can be affected by tooth-related issues. The maxillary sinuses are on either side of your nose and come in close contact with the roots of your upper teeth. Because the two are so close, abscesses from the upper back teeth can make their way into your maxillary sinus and cause an infection.

Most cases are due to a viral infection and resolve over the course of 10 days. However, if your sinus infection or toothache has been nagging for weeks, you may have a maxillary sinus infection that relates to an unknown infection in your teeth! So if you are prone to sinus infections, you may not think to visit with us, but perhaps you should!

Here are some common signs and symptoms of sinus infections:

  • Headache, localized facial pain/pressure, or toothache – a dull, constant, or aching sort over the affected sinuses is common with both acute and chronic stages of sinusitis. This pain is typically localized to the involved sinus and may worsen when the affected person bends over or when lying down. Pain often starts on one side of the head and progresses to both sides.
  • Acute and chronic sinusitis may be accompanied by thick nasal discharge that is usually green in color and may contain pus (purulent) and/or blood.
  • Infection of the eye socket is possible, which may result in the loss of sight and is accompanied by fever and severe illness. Another possible complication is the infection of the bones of the forehead and other facial bones. 
  • Sinus infections can also cause middle ear problems due to the congestion of the nasal passages. This can be demonstrated by dizziness, “a pressurized or heavy head”, or vibrating sensations in the head.
  • Other symptoms of sinusitis include bad breath and Post-nasal drip.

Generally, tooth abscesses are painful. However, once in a while there’s no discomfort at all—it depends on the location of the infection. If you’re experiencing pain (even if the pain goes away), or any of the other symptoms listed above, let us know. We can help catch problems—and infections—before they spread.