Integrative Health Blog

The Tooth-Sinus Connection

Posted by Robert Johnson on Mon, Mar 21, 2016

Are you aware of the critical tooth-sinus connection?tooth_sinus_issues

At this time of year, spring rushes into our lives and brings warmer weather and longer daylight.  

While most of us welcome the beauty of spring, for many it may be the beginning of bothersome symptoms. The explosion of pollens may result in a host of sinus problems- a runny nose, sneezing, difficulty breathing, facial congestion, headaches and “tooth pain.”

Yes, I said tooth pain.  Your upper back teeth, the maxillary molars, actually project into your sinuses and are only separated by very thin bone and the sinus membrane.

When your sinus lining is inflamed in a sinus infection, not only are your sinuses irritated and painful but the nerves of the teeth projecting into your sinuses are irritated.

The tooth - sinus proximity is such that inflamed sinuses may result in painful teeth.  

Sometimes, these toothaches will be treated as a tooth problem when in actuality it may be a sinus problem. More than one root canal has been performed on a molar when the problem actually was a sinus infection and should have been treated as such.

Finding the Root of Tooth Pain

The symptoms that may indicate to a holistic dentist that the apparent tooth pain is probably an inflamed sinus is if several back teeth are simultaneously painful, and the person has a history of sinus infections or seasonal allergic reactions. Additionally, if dental tests to determine the vitality of the tooth are normal this indicates that the tooth is not the problem, and the problem lies with the sinus.

Due to the tooth – sinus anatomic proximity other issues beside pain must be considered.   An infected tooth can quickly lead to an infected sinus while an infected sinus can eventually lead to an infected, dying tooth.

An astute dentist must decipher if a patient’s pain is emanating from a tooth, the sinus or both.   Overtreatment (treating both sinus and the tooth when only one is a problem) or under treating can lead to long term chronic problems for both a tooth or the sinus.

The final difficulty due to the close proximity of the maxillary sinus and upper posterior teeth is when tooth extraction results in a perforated sinus.   A perforated sinus usually leads to a chronically infected sinus.   This infection may spread to other parts of the body.

Someone experiencing tooth pain or sinus issues must understand the tooth-sinus connection and seek out a dental or medical office that understands this connection and can treat or refer appropriately.   At National Integrated Health Associates, we have integrative physicians and dentists and diagnostic skills to correctly assess tooth problems and/or sinus problems/allergies during this wonderful spring season we are entering.

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Topics: allergies, holistic dentistry