Spring is such a beautiful time of the year. The snow has finally melted, the birds are singing songs early in the quiet morning, trees are budding and the flowers are blooming and yes allergies strike! If you are one of the millions of people who have seasonal allergies it also means sneezing, congestion, runny nose and other bothersome symptoms. Sometimes these symptoms can mimic a sinus infection.

Sinus infections involve the lining of the sinus membranes. Many of these infections can occur from poor drainage of the sinus cavity and increased bacteria in the sinus not getting flushed away adequately in these openings in the head. Since bacteria populate at such a fast rate it is recommended that antibiotics are the last resort and a more preventive approach is used. The use of a Nettie pot is used to flush out the nasal cavity and allow for healthier flow of the sinuses. Saline Nasal sprays are also used to keep the nasal passages moist to allow the cilia located on the membrane to sweep away the bacteria.

There are times when a back upper tooth hurts when biting on it and may even feel like a toothache. If the teeth look normal on the x-ray and if they respond normally to heat and cold then the pain may be from an inflamed sinus membrane. Only your dentist or ENT physician can differentiate the source of pain for a positive diagnosis.

When a tooth has an infection either the dental pulp or the surrounding tissues around the tooth are affected. These dental infections can feed the sinus with a constant flow of bacteria creating a source of bacteria which will constantly be diagnosed and treated as a sinus infection. The problem is that physicians will often treat the symptoms many times over with antibiotics and not the infected tooth. I have had about 3 patients with in the past 8 months or so who had infected upper molar teeth and were on multiple courses of antibiotics as the infection would not go away. Once the infected tooth was treated with surgery or root canals the sinus infections disappeared. In fact over 10% of sinus infections have a dental origination.

Because there are many interrelated issues present it can be confusing to the patient and a diagnosis can be challenging to the dentist. Most likely there is a dental cause associated with it. If you do have these symptoms and your sinus infection does not go away with antibiotics then give your dentist a call. This can be very serious and even life threatening so don’t delay.

Sinus Issues and Tooth Problems

If you have any questions about sinus issues and tooth problems please contact me at drantolak@thegentledentist(.)com or write me at ASK THE GENTLE DENTIST c/o Robert Antolak DDS 15055 22 Mile #2 Shelby Township, MI 48315