Is It Sinus Or Tooth Pain? Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Tooth Pain. Woman Feeling Tooth Pain
Medically reviewed by Dr. Ola Tarabzuni

Key Takeaways

  • Sinus pain is caused mainly by the blockage of sinuses in our facial cavity and can occasionally lead to tooth pain.
  • Independently, tooth pain can not be only caused by sinuses but other causes including dental cavities can also be the reason.
  • Professional diagnosis is essential for aiding in appropriate treatment.
  • Opt for customized and required treatments to alleviate sinusitis or tooth-related discomfort effectively.

Is it sinus or tooth pain? It can be one of these or both, let’s understand the difference between sinus pain and teeth pain alongside their symptoms and causes. As per the article published in the National Institute of Health, they said “Sinusitis is a common medical problem that can occasionally manifest as dental pain. If the patient is experiencing dental pain in the maxillary posterior teeth, then it is appropriate for the dentist to rule out sinusitis as a source of the problem before proceeding with definitive dental treatment.

The most common symptoms in both of the cases include sharp pain, increased sensitivity, swollen lymph nodes and facial pain in the frontal cavity.

What’s The Difference Between Tooth Pain and Sinus Pain?

Sinus pain and tooth pain both are unsettling and make one completely puzzled. Both can be originated from different causes. Although one of the causes of tooth pain can be the blockage of the sinuses. Let’s understand what sinus pain is and how it affects your teeth as well.

The sinus cavity in your skull branches into 4 small cavities named Maxillary (one side of the nose), Ethmoid (other side of the nose), Sphenoid (Behind the eyes) and Frontal sinuses (near the forehead). If one of the cavities gets blocked due to infection of any mucous production it can cause discomforting pain. A sinus Infection, however, can be defined as inflammation in the linings of sinus cavities leading to swelling and mucus production. Since the roots of your molars are near your sinus cavity, these teeth may become painful when you are suffering from this infection.

On the contrary, Tooth pain is caused by dental problems including cavities in molars, premolars and sometimes canines followed by dental swellings. We can tell the difference by knowing that if the pain is in the molars and is spreading towards other areas e.g. premolars it’s sinus pain. Tooth pain will stay in place from where it really originated and you will notice the swelling in gums as well.

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Symptoms of tooth pain are as follows :

  1. Sharp pain localized to a specific part of the buccal cavity, one of the molar or canine teeth
  2. Increased sensitivity to extremes: Sudden pain after eating hot or cold food items/ beverages.
  3. Swelling around affected teeth and gums nearby
  4. Persistent metallic taste in the mouth
  5. Discoloration or yellowing of affecting teeth
  6. Swollen lymph nodes and tonsils area
  7. Pus or drainage surrounding the affected area of teeth

Symptoms of Sinus (Sinusitis) pain in teeth :

  1. Pain emerges from upper back teeth (Molars) and intensifies when moving forward to premolars
  2. Facial pain in the frontal cavity even on the slightest pressure
  3. Intense headache
  4. Stiffness and congestion in nostrils
  5. Impaired sense of smell
  6. Impaired taste buds, loss of taste
  7. Difficulty swallowing due to sore throat
  8. Cough
  9. Fatigue, lethargic body
  10. Mild to moderate fever

Causes and risk factors of sinus pain (Sinusitis)

Sinusitis often begins as a seasonal cold and develops into sinusitis with congestion of the nose. Runny rose in the start and blockage afterward is the way sinusitis shows its symptoms.

  • Viral Infections: Viruses are the most common cause of these infections infecting the nasal cavity leading to sinusitis.
  • Bacterial Infections: Bacterias sometimes can also be the cause of sinus pain leading to tooth pain as well.
  • Allergens: Allergens are the environmental triggers affecting sensitive people with less immunity. They can start by showing specific allergy reactions including irritation in the eyes and runny nose.
  • Nasal Polyps: The build-up in the nasal cavity often leads to Nasal blockage which in turn becomes sinusitis
  • Deviated Septum: When the middle wall dividing nostrils equally is off center leaving one smaller will lead to sinusitis more often and might need surgery as the course of treatment.
  • Dental Infections: Infections in upper back teeth and gums can trigger painful sinusitis.
  • Swimmer’s Sinusitis: You can often get Swimmer’s sinusitis by getting water into your nostrils while swimming. It can be pretty painful as well.
  • Jetlag Sinusitis: A change in atmospheric pressure can trigger sinusitis to extend. The low humidity and pressure in airplanes can inflame the sinus’ delicate mucous membranes leading to sinusitis.
  • Cystic Fibrosis: It is a genetic disorder that can lead to abnormally thick mucus and blockage of sinus passages, creating an optimum temperature and environment for bacterial growth. It will lead to bacterial sinusitis.

How to relieve tooth pain from sinus pressure?

Bid Farewell to sinus infection leading to Tooth Pain! Following are the Pharmaceutical solutions you can follow to get rid of any type of sinuses.

Nasal Decongestants and Expectorants: Over the counter, Nasal decongestants and expectorants are always a go-to solution in case of Sinuses. However, it’s good to keep in mind that they are not the persistent solution to the nasal sinuses and should not be used for more than 3 days. It’s good to use natural remedies for a cure or to get yourself checked by a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Over the Counter (OTC) Relievers: Treating minor toothaches with an OTC pain reliever such as Advil (Ibuprofen), acetaminophen, clindamycin, augmentin or aspirin is very effective. Topical numbing pastes or gels are also easily available for relieving pain.

Saline Solutions: Using saline solutions for rinsing the sinuses will help get rid of them.

Home Remedies

Home remedies are mostly used and cure sinusitis easily. They include :

  • Good Diet: Eating foods that are rich in Vitamin-C and Omega-3 fatty acids will help relieve sinus tooth pain.
  • Calcium Supplements: Calcium supplements along with foods rich in calcium will help get the relief.
  • Using Clove: Putting herbal clove in your affected tooth for 30 minutes will help relieve the pain fast.
  • Getting Steam: Adding a steamy shower along with peppermint steam solution to your daily care will help greatly.
  • Eating Spicy Foods: Incorporating spicy foods e.g red chilli powders. The ingredients in spicy foods like these have mucus-thinning properties and will give you instant relief from nasal blockage as well as sinus pain.
Can sinus tooth pain be severe? Consult a Doctor Now

Consult a Doctor

If you are taking medications for some time and notice that your symptoms are not reducing, it’s probably the right time to stop all the remedies you are trying and get yourself an appointment for your healthcare provider. It can be the indication of something else causing the pain.

FAQs About Sinus and Tooth Pain

Does ibuprofen help sinus toothache?

Ibuprofen is a pain relief medication and will help in reducing sinus tooth pain instantly. You might take 3 doses in a day as a cure. Keep in mind to not continue its usage for more than 10 days and seek medical attention if the problem persists.

How long does a sinus toothache last?

Toothache related to the sinus will typically go away for 7 to 14 days. It will only stay the same until the issue in the sinuses goes unresolved. Try home remedies as well as over-the-counter medications for relief and to get rid of sinus blockage.

Where do teeth hurt with a sinus infection?

Teeth hurt if they get affected by the sinus infection (Sinusitis) will occur and affect the lower back teeth called Molars. It can eventually spread to the premolars if stayed for longer periods. Sinusitis will affect the lower back teeth called Molars. It can eventually spread to the premolars if stayed for longer periods. It’s good to seek medical attention from the dentist if the toothache because of the sinus persists.

Do sinus toothaches go away?

Yes, They do. If they get the required treatment. Bacterial and viral sinusitis causing toothache will need a proper diagnosis and treatment whilst toothaches let alone will require dental solutions.

Can an abscessed tooth mimic a sinus infection?

Yes, It can. If it triggers the sinuses it will definitely mimic sinus infection.

How should I sleep with a sinus toothache?

Take a steam shower or peppermint tea before going to bed to relieve teeth. Keep your head in a tilted position when resting. Lying horizontally can cause blockage and can lead to sudden onset of pain.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Mayo Clinic. Sinus infection and toothache: Any connection?
  • Mayo Clinic. Sinusitis and tooth pain
  • Battisti AS, Modi P, Pangia J. Sinusitis. [Updated 2023 Mar 2]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:
  • Henson B, Drake TM, Edens MA. Anatomy, Head and Neck, Nose Sinuses. [Updated 2022 Jul 25]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:
  • Lemiengre MB, van Driel ML, Merenstein D, Liira H, Mäkelä M, De Sutter AI. Antibiotics for acute rhinosinusitis in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Sep 10;9(9):CD006089. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006089.pub5. PMID: 30198548; PMCID: PMC6513448.
  • Wahid NWB, Shermetaro C. Rhinitis Medicamentosa. [Updated 2022 Sep 5]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:

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