Knowing the Difference Between Sinus Pressure and a Toothache


When it comes to tooth pain, it can be hard to determine if your toothache is caused by an actual dental problem or one of the side effects of sinus pressure.

Understanding Sinuses

The sinuses are a connected system of hollow cavities in the skull. Your sinuses are four pairs of air-filled spaces found in the facial bones near the eyes, forehead, and behind your cheekbones.

The sinuses are responsible for warming, moistening, and filtering the air in your nasal cavity. Sinuses are also responsible for producing mucus, which drains into the nasal cavity and cleans the nose.

How To Determine If Your Tooth Pain Is Caused by Sinus Pressure

Both a sinus infection and sinus pressure, also known as sinusitis, can cause inflammation and swelling.

Tooth pain is a common symptom of sinusitis, which can be caused by sinus pressure and the drainage that comes from sinus infections. The pain is usually felt in the upper rear teeth that are closest to the sinuses.

While sinus pressure may cause tooth pain, how can you know if your tooth pain is caused by sinusitis? Sinus tooth pain is felt mainly in the upper molars and affects several teeth instead of just one. Sinus pain felt in the teeth can also cause you to have a low-grade fever.

A toothache that is caused by dental problems will likely only hurt one tooth and be more intense.

Symptoms of Tooth Pain Caused By Sinus Pressure

When dealing with tooth pain, it is best to know if your pain is the source of sinus pressure or a more serious dental dilemma. Some of the symptoms to watch for include:

  • Pain in the teeth when bending over
  • Pain when jumping
  • Pain easing when lying down
  • Other Symptoms Felt With Sinusitis

Knowing what other symptoms to look out for when self-diagnosing sinusitis is crucial. Additional symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Pressure or tenderness around the nose, eyes, or forehead
  • Thick, discolored mucus
  • Bad-tasting nasal drip
  • Halitosis
  • Ear fullness or pain
  • Low-grade fever
  • Weariness
  • Loss of smell and taste
  • Sore throat
  • Hoarse voice


How To Treat Sinusitis at Home

The good news is that sinusitis can often be relieved at home without medical attention. You can start by trying the following home remedies before seeking additional treatment:

Stay hydrated

By making sure that you are drinking plenty of water, you are taking the first step to alleviating sinus congestion. Drinking enough liquid helps thin mucus and minimizes blockages and pressure in the sinuses. Hot soup and teas can also be used to help soothe the pain.


Breathing in hot, moist air can help open the nasal passages and relieve sinus pressure. You can do this by filling a large bowl with boiling water and positioning your head above the water, covering your head with a towel, and breathing deeply for a few minutes. Taking a hot shower twice a day can also help ease symptoms.

Sinus flush

Rinsing your sinuses with a saline solution can help moisturize and clean the sinuses. This can be done by using a nasal sprayer, a neti pot, or a nasal irrigation system.

Take Over-the-Counter Medication to Take Care of the Pain

To relieve tooth pain you can take an over-the-counter medicine such as acetaminophen or Ibuprofen. Numbing gels like Orajel and Anbesol can also be used on the affected area to treat the pain.

When You Should See a Doctor

It is recommended to come in for treatment for tooth pain if you experience a toothache that:

  • Lasts for a long amount of time
  • Doesn’t go away once your sinus infection has cleared up
  • Causes extreme discomfort

Your dentist will be able to determine the root of the pain as well as how it can be treated.

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