Tooth pain could mean sinusitis


Tooth pain doesn’t always mean a cavity. In some cases, it could signal sinusitis. This is a condition in which the tissues of the sinuses, or air passages, behind the face become swollen. The sinuses may fill with fluid.

A cold usually lasts about one to two weeks and goes away on its own. But a cold sometimes develops into sinusitis, which can last three weeks or longer. In fact, sinusitis can become chronic, dragging on for eight weeks or even longer.

Signs of sinusitis may include cold-like symptoms, such as a sore throat and congestion. Other signs and symptoms may include:

  • Face pain or pressure in the forehead, cheeks, nose, or between the eyes

  • Nasal stuffiness and discharge

  • Bad breath

  • Toothache in the upper back teeth

  • Weakness and fatigue

  • Reduced sense of smell

Your doctor can recommend the best treatment. Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription remedies may provide relief. Oral decongestants and decongestant nasal sprays can reduce congestion. But don’t use decongestant nasal sprays for more than three days. Longer use can actually worsen congestion. OTC saline nose sprays are safe and can provide relief.

Sometimes, sinusitis is caused by a bacterial infection. If this is the case, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics that will help clear up the infection.

Inhaling steam from a cup of boiled water or a vaporizer can lessen discomfort. Applying a warm, moist washcloth to the cheekbone and eye area can also provide relief.



“Sinusitis.” Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, May 18, 2014. Accessed 2016.

“Common Cold.” Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, January 31, 2015. Accessed 2016.

“Sinusitis.” American Academy of Family Physicians, April 2014. Accessed 2016.

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