If there is anything worse than a toothache it's got to be a toothache with the addition of a sinus infection(sinusitis) to boot. So, how long does a sinus toothache last? Is a toothache and a runny nose a guarantee of a sinus infection? We'll explore these questions and more.
What causes a sinus toothache?
Your sinuses are 4 cavities in your head which are filled with air and coupled with mucus membranes inside. They are called the maxillary, the frontal, sphenoidal , the ethmoidal sinuses. Can your sinuses affect your teeth? Yes, indeed they can.
The maxillary sinus is the one that we are concerned with, in that problems with a blockage or pressure on this sinus can lead to jaw pain and the inevitable toothache. Ouch! So how can you tell? Well, the blockage is generally going to be caused by a sinus infection. Sinusitis has a number of symptoms that you may recognize. If so, your sinuses may be the problem.
Sinus infection symptoms
- Pain around your nose or in the eyes -This comes from the pressure and blockage in your sinuses.
- Nasal congestion - This or drippy mucus discharge can also be a sign. Watch for neon green when you blow your nose. This is a strong sign of a sinus infection.
- Facial headache - This is another side effect from those blocked sinuses and a sign that your toothache is likely a symptom and not the cause of your pain.
- Cough - Coughing in conjunction with these other symptoms may indicate that your body is trying to get rid of infection.
- Sore throat - This comes from infection spreading to your throat from draining sinuses.
- Sneezing - Are you sneezing all the time lately? This is another red flag.
- Fatigue - Sudden lethargy coming with these other symptoms may be another sign of infection.
- Fever - A definite red flag, if your toothache comes with a fever then you will not want to ignore this.
- Bad breath - Generally the sinus drainage is going to come with the nasty affliction of halitosis. This should clear up once the infection is dealt with as long as your dental hygiene is good.
What can you do if you suspect a sinus infection is causing your toothache?
Antibiotics are going to be your typical treatment if you find yourself with a sinus infection. Nasal sprays can help as well in getting the pressure down on your sinuses and cleaning out some of that bacteria. So, what about our sinus driven tooth pain? Well, an acute sinus infection is generally going to go down in 1 to 2 weeks. In the meantime, some things to help with sinus tooth pain treatment include:
- Green tea bags - Steep a tea bag and let it cool and take advantage of the antibacterial qualities of the tannins inside. Green tea and chamomile are good for this and will help a little with the pain as well.
- Ibuprofen - Good old over-the-counter ibuprofen can work wonders for a toothache and help control a fever or headache if you have those too.
- Clove oil - Dab a little on a cotton ball and bite into the cotton. This will give the area a little numbness that you will appreciate. Peppermint oil works well for this as well and may be to your preference, as clove oil is rather strong and has a rather overpowering taste.
- Turmeric - Take a little powdered turmeric and add a few drops of water to make a paste. Apply this to your gums and this can help to soothe a sinus toothache while you are also treating your sinuses.
“Peppers can really clear up your sinuses.”
How long does a toothache last if I don't treat the sinus infection?
How long the toothache will last in such a case is hard to say. Pressure may vary from day to day so it might not be there one day, only to return another. That said, you really should get the sinus infection treated so that more symptoms or complications don't arise. If you don't want to go to the Doctor there are some home remedies that you can try.
Home remedies for sinus infections
- Steam - A hot shower or a humidifier can really help to clean up your sinuses. You can also boil water and use the tried and true 'towel-over-your-head' method so that you can inhale a good amount of steam. Be careful to make sure it's not scalding.
- Yummy Hot peppers - Actually, any spicy food will help. Peppers can really clear up your sinuses and give you an energy burst to go with it!
- Bromelain - Bromelain is a supplement that is made from pineapple stems. It acts as an anti-inflammatory, reducing swelling, but you will want to check with your doctor before taking it.
- Saline nasal sprays - Saline is great for clearing up your sinuses. You can also use the over-the-counter medicated variety but if you do, limit usage to 3 or 4 times a day so that you don't overdo it. Some of the medicated sprays can act as a stimulant and you might end up nervous and with shaky hands at work. Use responsibly!
The bottom line
Tooth pain from a sinus infection is no sneezing matter(well, the sinus infection is, but you know what we mean!). Make sure to try our home remedies if you don't want to see the doctor. Whatever you do, don't ignore it. Symptoms can get worse and you'll find that it just gets worse with time. If you like, a little preventative maintenance for your sinuses would be taking your vitamins and using a saline spray once a week just to keep everything clean in there. While living healthy takes a little extra effort it is worth it when you are the only one not sick at work every Christmas!