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Teeth Hurt When You Have a Sinus Infection? Here's Why...

Teeth Hurt When You Have a Sinus Infection? Here’s Why…

It’s the time of year when our immune system defense take a nose dive. And, for many of us, the common cold will turn into a full-blown sinus infection.

What are Sinuses?

Every time you breath through your nose, air travels through your sinuses then down to your lungs. Your sinuses are hollow cavities in your upper jaw bone. They are also lined with a pink membrane — similar to the one lining your stomach. When this lining gets infected or inflamed, a sinus infection has developed (also called sinusitis).

Symptoms include pain above your eyes and behind your nose, cough, sore throat — and, yes, even tooth pain.

Why Tooth Pain?

After about 35 or 40 years old, most people’s sinuses have enlarged enough to encroach on the roots of the upper back teeth. Every tooth has a nerve and blood vessels that enter into it through the tips of its root. If the sinus has enlarged to the point that the root of some of the teeth jut into it, then the nerves leaving the ends of the roots lay across the floor of the sinus unprotected.

When the sinus has pressure built up in it, the pressure is also applied to the unprotected nerves of the teeth, causing a dull constant ache. In fact, if the pain persists more than a couple of days, it can even seem to travel to the lower teeth of the affected side. It can also cause the affected teeth to be more sensitive to hot or cold. This is not a toothache, but is annoying.

Treating a Sinus Infection

Maxillary sinusitis can be treated in a variety of ways, including:

  • Using a humidifier to moisten the air that you breathe in.  This helps to loosen any dried secretions that have accumulated in the sinuses.
  • Using nasal spray that contains phenylephrine or ephedrine.
  • Taking decongestants orally such as Sudafed (psedoephedrine)
  • Taking antibiotics if it is believed that the sinusitis is caused by bacteria.


Although toothaches are generally caused by a problem with your tooth, it is important to understand that your teeth have neighbors, such as your sinuses, that can mimic a toothache.


THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures, complete dental reconstruction and TMJ/Headache management. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable up-to-date dentistry and a team who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.