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Relentless Sinusitis? Visit your Dentist in Naperville

Tooth Decay and Frequent Sinus Infections

Because of their close proximity to each other, your sinuses can cause a toothache and an infection in your teeth can cause a sinus infection. The latter is what we will focus on here – as your family dentist in Naperville, IL discusses how dental problems can cause a sinus infection and the ways in which this problem can be addressed.

The Anatomy of Your Sinuses

Briefly stated, your sinuses are cavities filled with air in your skull and connected to the nasal cavity. Small hairs called cilia line your sinuses, and these cilia help move air, mucus, bacteria, viruses, and other allergens through for filtration.

The sinuses also help determine the sound of your voice, as your voice resonates or changes through vibrations via the air in the sinuses.

A sinus infection, or sinusitis, occurs when viruses or bacteria infect the sinus linings, leading to uncomfortable symptoms that can include facial pain and pressure, a runny nose, headache, and sometimes a toothache.


The pair of maxillary sinuses are the largest of your sinuses, located directly above the back teeth of your upper jaw. The roots of your upper teeth are nearby and may even extend into the sinus cavity. Consequently, inflammation in the sinuses might cause pain in nearby teeth, and conversely, damage to or an infection in a nearby tooth may lead to sinusitis.

Infected Teeth and Your Sinuses

A tooth infection begins when acid from food or drink or acid-producing bacteria creates a cavity in the outer layer of a tooth. If left untreated, this bacteria from the cavity can work its way into the pulp chamber at the core of the tooth, which, in turn, is connected to the root canals. From there, the infection can easily spread to the root of the tooth causing pain, usually noticed when you bite down on something.

Interestingly, not all of these infections cause tooth pain. It is possible for any infection that develops in the root of one of the upper back teeth to spread into the maxillary sinus. This condition is known clinically as Maxillary Sinusitis of Endodontic Origin (MSEO).

Patients suffering from MSEO will often have low grade nasal or sinus symptoms, including a runny nose, general sinus congestion, post nasal drip, and facial pain. But there usually isn’t any tooth pain, tenderness while chewing, or tooth sensitivity because the tooth is already dead and the pressure that typically surrounds an infected tooth is missing because the infection is draining into the maxillary sinuses.

Sinus Treatment is Insufficient

Individuals suffering with sinus issues may see their primary care physician or an ear, nose, and throat specialist for years without realizing their problem stems from an infected tooth or teeth. Antibiotics prescribed by a physician may temporarily bring the problem under control, but eventually the bacteria festering in the tooth will come back, and the sinus problem will reappear until you seek dental care.

Sinus Treatment

Treatment Options at Your Family Dentist in Naperville

Fortunately, modern dentistry offers treatment options for recurring sinusitis that stems from a dental problem. One of these is a root canal, and when performed by one of our specialists at Naperville Commons Dental, the process is simple, effective, and relatively painless – not the ordeal many imagine it to be.

If you’ve been struggling with persistent sinus issues, particularly if they keep recurring after treatment, we encourage you to make an appointment with Naperville Commons Dental. If an infected tooth is the cause, we can provide the treatment you need and have you feeling better faster than you might imagine. We invite you to call today.

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