• 08 MAR 18
    • 0

    What’s Triggering Your Tooth Pain–Your Tooth or Your Sinus?

    tooth pain

    Tooth pain isn’t always a sign of a cavity, sometimes your sinuses are to blame! Sinus pressure can put pressure on oral nerves causing sensitivities often confused with dental decay. With Spring just around the corner, allergy-induced nasal inflammation and sinus infections become that much more common. Learn how you can tell the difference between sinus-related pain and other teeth issues.

    Allergies and Your Teeth

    It is very common during allergy season for patients to suffer from toothaches that are not related to disease or decay. The maxillary sinus cavities are often to blame for congestion and pressure during allergy season. These sinuses are located right at the root of your molars and premolars. If pressure and congestion builds up in the sinuses, it can put pressure on the roots of these teeth and can cause tooth pain.

    Sinus vs. Decay Pain?

    So how do you go about telling the difference between tooth pain related to decay and tooth pain related to allergies?  When in doubt, it never hurts to make an appointment with a member of our Evanson DDS team for an evaluation, but here are some key tips to practice to help get to the source of your tooth pain all on your own.

    Understanding Your Sinuses

    Your sinuses are the spaces in your skull and facial bones that make up the upper part of your upper respiratory tract from your nose to your throat. Your frontal sinuses are located in your forehead, your ethmoid and sphenoid sinuses are located behind your nose, and your maxillary sinuses are located inside your cheekbones.  When you are fighting allergens, these spaces fill up with mucus triggering pain and aches in your face and mouth. Congested maxillary sinuses put pressure on the roots of your upper molars. This pressure can cause tooth pain and tooth sensitivity to hot and cold.

    Diagnosing Your Symptoms

    To help correctly identify your tooth symptoms, first see if they respond to antihistamines. If antihistamines give you relief, chances are this is a sinus issue and not a tooth issue.  If pain and symptoms linger after trying antihistamines, or if you are having pain in teeth other than your upper molars, call and make an appointment with a member of our Evanson DDS team.  

    Other Allergy Symptoms that Can Adversely Affect Your Oral Health

    While tooth pain is one symptom often related with seasonal allergies,dry mouth and sore throats are two other common symptoms to watch out for to protect your smile.

    Dry mouth is common with seasonal allergies because those antihistamines we talked about earlier also cause dry mouth. A stuffy nose will also cause you to mouth breathe more than you do usually leading to a drier mouth. Having a dry mouth means that you have less saliva production–saliva is key in fighting against decay in your mouth.

    Saliva’s Vital Role

    The American Dental Association refers to saliva as the ‘bloodstream of the mouth’. Like blood, saliva facilitates the health and repair of soft and hard tissues. Reduced saliva production makes decay and other oral infections more likely to occur.

    Saliva also fights tooth decay by:

    • Cleaning food and debris from teeth and gums
    • Moistening and dissolving food to aid in swallowing and taste
    • Employing disease-fighting substances throughout your mouth to fight cavities and other infections
    • Distributing high levels of calcium, fluoride and phosphate ions to the tooth surface, keeping the surface of your teeth strong.

    Tips to Keep Your Mouth Healthy During Allergy Season

    There is much you can do to keep your mouth healthy during allergy season without too much effort. We suggest:

    • Practice Good Oral Health Habits.  Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop problems before they develop. In between regular visits to the dentist, do your part by keeping up on your flossing, brushing and healthy eating habits.
    • Schedule a Dental Cleaning and Exam. A professional cleaning from a dentist or dental hygienist help prevent excessive plaque buildup. Plaque left to fester can lead to unhealthy gums and tooth decay and will become more present with decreased saliva due to your allergies.
    • Treat Your Allergies. If you know that you suffer from seasonal allergies, avoid any known triggers that you have and counsel with your doctor about long-term treatment options such as immunotherapy.
    • Stay Hydrated.  Increase the amount of water you are drinking during allergy season to help fight of the effects.The more hydrated your mouth and body are the better able you are at flushing out unwanted toxins, mucus and debris from your system.  Water will also help fill the function of the decreased saliva production in your mouth helping you fight against dry mouth symptoms.

    Understand how much water is healthy for you. Experts say the amount of water you need depends on your size and weight, and also on your activity level and where you live.  You should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day.

    Call for an Appointment

    Don’t let tooth pain go on without getting to the source. When pain strikes, call us at (720) 409-0008 to set up an appointment for a dental exam and to get your health questions answered!

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