Your tooth is killing you. Ever since you woke up this morning you’ve felt a painful jolt up through your face or nose, right near the root of one of your teeth. Toothaches can be one of the most painful experiences that anyone can have, so you rush to call your dentist and get in as soon as possible; but, once you get there, your dentist tells you there’s nothing wrong with your tooth at all. Don’t believe it? It happens more than you would think!
One of the most common ailments that creates the impression of a painful toothache isn’t even tooth related. Can you guess what it is? Sinus pressure. That’s right, allergies, sinus pressure, congestion, or infections can create the side effect of what feels like a toothache. That’s because your maxillary (upper) tooth roots lie in very close proximity to your nasal sinuses. In some cases, the roots of certain teeth may actually be in direct contact with the wall of the sinus. When you experience allergies or sinus pressure, this inflammation pushes against the root of the tooth, and creates the impression that is interpreted as a toothache.
Your dentist will take an x-ray just to be sure that there’s not an underlying condition, but many times these films will show that the lining of the sinus is pressed firmly against the root of the tooth. Advisably, it will be recommended that you begin taking a decongestant, allergy medication, or see your primary care physician for severe sinus infections. Most people aren’t excited about having a sinus infection, but they’re thrilled that it isn’t actually something wrong with the tooth!
Posted on behalf of Linda King DDS
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