Toothache in a sinusitis


Sinusitis is an inflammatory change of the mucous membranes in the paranasal sinuses caused by viruses or bacteria.
In particular, when the maxillary sinus is affected by the inflammation, patients often report toothache. This phenomenon is usually due to the proximity of the maxillary teeth to the maxillary sinus.

All caves are filled with air when man is healthy. In the case of an inflammatory change in the mucous membranes, secretions or possibly even pus are formed. Due to the obstructed drain the Nenebenhöhle fills and so the complaints arise.

The human has a total of six different cavities embedded in the skull bone, which are also commonly referred to as paranasal sinuses. These include the maxillary sinus, frontal sinus, sphenoid sinus, ethmoid cell, lacrimal sinus, and palate ( palatine sinus ).


Sinusitis can cause a number of concomitant symptoms, such as fever, flu-like state of health and headache, as well as general health deterioration.
These headaches usually occur only when the sinusitis has already progressed and when there has already been a pronounced mirroring.

Patients usually complain of the headache as they stoop forwards or downwards. The pain character is described as throbbing, dull and very unpleasant. A knocking of the paranasal sinuses is often described as extremely unpleasant and painful.


In some cases, the leading symptom of sinusitis (also called maxillary sinusitis or sinusitis ) may not only be headache or general malaise, but nonspecific toothache may be due to sinusitis.

Often toothache is understandably misinterpreted in this context and the cause in a tooth root inflammation or a caries infestation, etc. suspected. However, it is important to see the temporal relationship between toothache and sinusitis. Due to the close anatomical positional relationship of the upper jaw tooth roots to the paranasal sinuses, an inflammation or bacterial colonization of the sinuses can also irritate the teeth. Typically, the irritation is due to a dull pain that is not exactly due to a tooth. The complaints are intensified when the head moves forward or when there are rotary movements.

In most cases, patients are unaware that they have sinusitis ( sinusitis ). You speak of a cold or a cold. In this context, many people complain of toothache occurring in the upper jaw at the same time, but these usually last a few days after the onset of sinusitis.
If the toothache is intensified and it comes to a swelling of the cheek, a visit to the dentist is necessary.

Toothache in the upper jaw

If the infection and inflammation focus in the so-called maxillary sinus ( maxillary sinus ), it can cause pain in the upper jaw by the inflammation process. The maxillary sinus is the middle nasal passage and contains the largest paranasal sinus. Inflammation in this area is also called maxillary sinusitis (maxillary sinusitis).

The pain can radiate in the area of ​​the face and upper jaw. It is also interesting that the lowest point of the maxillary sinus is in the area of ​​the 1st molar tooth ( molar ). There, the secretion of gravity flows following and can flow out only with difficulty, since the opening of the antrum is located further above. If no constant secretion exchange takes place, pathogens can spread well there and cause painful inflammation in the area of ​​the upper jaw.

The pain is dull and throbbing. They are aggravated when bending over the head or during certain movements, such as hopping. Due to the direct proximity to the teeth toothache in an antritis is not untypical.

Toothache in the lower jaw

In sinusitis, the mucous membranes swell as part of the inflammatory process. This swelling may irritate the tooth nerves, causing toothache in both the upper and lower jaws, even though the mandible is spatially separated from the paranasal sinus and therefore much less affected. The visit to the dentist provides clarity.

Toothache on the incisors

In typical sinusitis, pain is caused by the swelling of the mucous membranes and the increased pressure in the paranasal sinuses. As a result, the pain is often diffusely localized to a facial region. But if the incisors are explicitly affected by the pain, you can consider an irritation of the tooth nerves. This nerve irritation is probably also caused by the swollen mucous membrane and then causes pain in the teeth to which the nerve leads, such as in the incisors. However, the exact mechanism is still part of the current research and not yet fully understood.


Inflammation of the paranasal sinuses may in some cases also affect the ear and trigger pain there.

Two mechanisms are conceivable, how the ear is affected. On the one hand, the pathogens in the paranasal sinuses alone can trigger a painful middle ear infection due to the close proximity to the ear. Especially in small children, the Eustachian tube is relatively short, so that the infectious agents have a short way to trigger another infection in the ear.

Another mechanism engages the connecting tube between the nasopharynx and the middle ear. This connecting tube is also called the " Eustachian tube" or Eustachian tube and plays an important role in pressure equalization.
If this structure is affected by the inflammation, the Eustachian tube can clog or swell. As a result, the pressure compensation can be difficult, so that it can lead to a feeling of under or over pressure in the middle ear. These altered pressure conditions can also be painful, especially if you can not cause pressure equalization by the usual measures such as yawning or swallowing.

What helps against the complaints?

home remedies

For sinusitis (as a cause of toothache) you can use onion bags as a home remedy. For this purpose, chop one or two onions and, for example, heat them in the microwave. Chew the no longer hot onions or beat in a cotton cloth or kitchen towel and hold to the ears. The heat and the essential oils in the onion cause the mucus to dissolve and the inflammation to be inhibited.

One can also work with other essential oils, such as pine needle, eucalyptus or mint oil in steam baths. However, this should be avoided in children under two years old. Even with older children, essential oils should be used with caution and only after consultation with a doctor.

It is important to remember that home remedies should always be an additional measure and if the inflammation does not decrease within a normal timeframe, medical advice should be sought.


There are four homeopathic preparations that can be preferred for sinusitis.

  • Potassium bichromicum is recommended if the mucus is rather thick and tough and the pain in the fresh air improves.
  • Another remedy is loofah, which is effective for purulent inflammation, which is also associated with headache in the forehead and dry mouth.
  • The preparations Pulsatilla and Mercurius vivus are recommended for sinusitis with chills or pain above the eye area.

If there is uncertainty as to which preparation should be taken in the individual situation, consult with an experienced doctor.


For pain therapy in sinusitis normal painkillers are usually sufficient. Possible preparations are, for example, acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

If you take ibuprofen for an extended period of time, taking additional gastric protection (proton pump inhibitor such as pantoprazole) should be considered to reduce the risk of stomach ulcer ( ulcer ).

In addition, care should be taken not to take more than the maximum dose of the medication. This is 4g for paracetamol and 2, 400mg for ibuprofen daily. Further restrictions are added in patients with impaired kidney function. The instructions of the attending physician and pharmacist should be observed.

What else helps?

Particular attention should be paid to the mucus solution in sinusitis so that it can drain. This measure alone can alleviate a number of symptoms.

In order to liquefy the mucus, attention should be paid to a sufficient amount of drinking. Two liters per day are a good guide during the illness. Here are various herbal teas, which additionally have a decongestant and anti-inflammatory effect. Examples include, for example, peppermint or chamomile tea.Also fresh ginger tea has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.

Furthermore, you can make nasal rinses with salt water twice a day to further dissolve the secretion. Steam inhalations are recommended not only for sinusitis, but also for simple colds. The warm and moist steam soothes the irritated mucous membranes and moistens the respiratory tract. If you are not inclined to allergies, you can also give thyme sprigs to the hot water bath. An alternative would be to add a little salt to the water.


In over two-thirds of all patients with sinusitis, the symptoms resolve within two weeks. In some cases, the disease may persist for more than six weeks, but then 90% of all patients are symptom free again. At a small percentage, the acute disease turns into chronic sinusitis, which in the worst case can last a lifetime.

Cause of toothache

The exact cause of toothache in sinusitis is not yet clear. It is seen in the irritation of the tooth nerves responsible for the sensation of the teeth. This nerve runs near the upper paranasal sinus.

If the mucosa in the paranasal sinus is flammable and thickened, irritation of the nerve may occur, which is increasingly compressed with increasing mucosal swelling. It comes to an irritation far above the actual tooth. However, since the brain usually assigns stimuli that are transported through this nerve to one or more teeth of the upper jaw, this also happens in the case when the tooth is actually not affected at all.
The person in question thinks he has a toothache, but the teeth are completely healthy. Depending on the level of irritation, the pain can become so severe that a corresponding painkiller must be used. The pain character is described as biting and very uncomfortable, but can also pass into a kind of knocking or throbbing. Characteristically, the pain can also migrate and have a pulling character. In severe inflammation of the sinuses, patients complain that the entire upper or lower jaw hurts. A precise localization to a specific tooth is not possible here.

It must not be forgotten that a sinusitis can trigger toothache but does not have to, ie toothache occurs in a temporal relationship with a cold or sinusitis, the root cause of rooting of the tooth, gums or caries of one or more teeth be.

If the pain, after the onset of cold symptoms have not abruptly improved, is to be assumed by a dental cause of pain. In this case, a dentist should be consulted.

As a rule, people who have more sensitive tooth nerves and have corresponding pain with colds, have already made the experience, so know mostly where the complaints come from. The temporal sequence is also characteristic. First, the cold starts, then begin with increasing sinusitis, the toothache. In reverse order, the symptoms disappear when the disease subsides.

It can also be attempted to check its sensitivity by tapping the nerve. If you tap with a small hammer in the mouth (at the transition between the upper and lower jaw), it comes, if the actual teeth are not the cause in question, to an increased pain in one or more teeth. Reason is the hypersensitivity of the tooth nerve, which is also called neuralgia. If one of the teeth is to blame for the discomfort, the pain stimulus can usually not be triggered by a nerve-racking but only by the direct tapping of the tooth or placing a cold pad on a suspicious tooth.

Sinusitis during pregnancy

Sinusitis can also occur during pregnancy. The biggest problem with this situation is that many medications and antibiotics that would normally be used are not approved for pregnancy. Therefore, a doctor should be consulted in pregnancy in any case, who can advise on the treatment options, because even if left untreated sinusitis can have consequences for the child.

Home remedies such as steam inhalation, for example, are a good alternative to taking medications, as they liquefy the mucus and allow it to drain.
It should also be noted that if possible, dental treatments should not be performed during the first trimester of pregnancy.

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