As a dentist, I often come across patients who complain of tooth pain, but upon examination, it turns out to be a sinus issue, or vice versa. It’s not always easy to determine which one it is, especially since the symptoms of sinusitis and dental problems can be quite similar.
What is Sinus Pain?
Sinus pain is caused by inflammation of the sinuses, which are air-filled cavities located in the skull. When the sinuses become inflamed, they can cause pressure and pain in the face, particularly around the cheeks, forehead, and eyes. Other symptoms of sinusitis include nasal congestion, headache, fever, and fatigue.
What is a Toothache?
A toothache, on the other hand, is caused by a problem with the tooth or its surrounding structures. Tooth decay, gum disease, cracked teeth, and abscesses are common causes of tooth pain. The pain may be sharp or dull, and it can be triggered by hot or cold foods and beverages, sweet foods, or pressure on the affected tooth.
How to Determine if You Have Sinus Pain or a Toothache
If you’re experiencing pain in your face, it’s not always easy to determine whether it’s coming from your sinuses or your teeth. However, there are some key differences between the two that can help you figure out what’s causing your pain.
Location of the Pain
Sinus pain is typically located in the cheeks, forehead, and eyes. Tooth pain, on the other hand, is usually located in a specific tooth or area of the mouth.
Duration of the Pain
Sinus pain is usually constant and may last for several days or even weeks. Tooth pain, on the other hand, can come and go, depending on the cause of the pain.
Triggers for the Pain
Sinus pain may be triggered by changes in air pressure, allergies, or a cold or flu. Tooth pain, on the other hand, is often triggered by hot or cold foods and beverages, sweet foods, or pressure on the affected tooth.
What to Do if You’re Not Sure
If you’re unsure whether your pain is coming from your sinuses or your teeth, it’s important that you visit your primary care doctor or make an appointment with me as soon as possible. If I can rule out tooth pain, I may refer you to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist for further evaluation. An ENT specialist can perform tests to determine if you have sinusitis or another condition that may be causing your pain.
As always, if you have questions don’t hesitate to contact us at 828.631.3283.
David S. McGuire, DDS