Your head hurts, you have a fever, and, weirdly enough, you have a toothache. You might think those three things are unrelated but, chances are, you’re probably suffering from a sinus infection. Sinus infections occur when a virus or bacteria wreak havoc on the sinuses, causing painful congestion and inflammation.
The most common symptom of a sinus infection is congestion and pain in the sinuses. Sinuses are located in a few different areas including behind the eyebrows and right below the eyes, in the upper cheek region. Sometimes, if inflammation in the sinuses becomes severe enough, tooth pain can occur. The pain is usually centered around the upper molars since they’re located near a sinus cavity. The tooth pain can be severe enough to cause people to become confused about its origin.
Is it a toothache or a sinus infection?
The best way to figure out if your tooth pain is coming from a sinus infection is to look at your other symptoms. Are you running a fever? Do you have nasal congestion or a headache? Are you having difficulties smelling or tasting? If you answered “yes” to those, your tooth pain is most likely related to sinus inflammation.
If you are not suffering from any of those symptoms, your tooth pain is related to decay or damage. Get to a dentist as soon as possible so they can do an exam of the tooth. You may need a filling, a root canal, or an extraction.
How can I cure a sinus infection?
Viruses, not bacteria, are frequently the culprit when it comes to sinus infections. This is both a good and bad thing. It can be good because, in most cases, viruses only last a week. It can also be not so good because viruses are not easily treatable. You can treat the symptoms (stuffy nose, fever, inflammation, etc.) but you cannot rid your body of the virus. You have to wait for it to work through your system, which is typically a fairly quick process.
If the sinus infection is bacteria-based, you may have to get antibiotics from a doctor. You should resort to antibiotics only after experiencing symptoms for over ten days. Antibiotics can become ineffective after excessive use.
How can I manage sinus infection pain?
If the tooth pain from your sinus infection is unbearable, go to the doctor immediately. If it’s uncomfortable, here are a few ways to help keep that pain at bay:
- Trying taking a hot shower or standing over a bowl of boiling water. Steam helps loosen the congestion that’s causing the inflammation.
- Drink lots of water. We know doctors say you should do that if you’re experiencing any kind of cold symptoms but for sinus infections, it’s especially important. Water helps thin the congestion considerably.
- Take decongestants and pain killers. Try Sudafed and Mucinex to loosen the congestion and ibuprofen/acetaminophen to manage the headaches and tooth pain.
- Use a saline spray to clear congestion. Saline sprays are a safe and 100% drug-free way to clean out the sinuses.