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Woman holding her head due to headache
It started late last night, right before you went to bed: a dull ache in your upper left molars. It wasn’t super bad, so you were able to fall asleep, but this morning, you’re definitely in pain. What’s causing the toothache and is there anything you can do about it?

Of course, there are many common and obvious causes for toothaches, but today we’re going to talk about one that might be a little less well known: sinus infections. Yep. A sinus infection can cause a toothache. The reason this happens is pretty straightforward. The sinus passages that run through your cheeks are actually housed in your upper jawbone. When those passages become infected and inflamed (or just very, very full) the swelling puts pressure on the roots and nerve endings of your teeth and can cause pain.

So the connection between sinus infections and toothaches is pretty straightforward, but how can you know if sinus pressure is the cause of your toothache or if you’re dealing with something else? And if sinus trouble is the source of your pain, what can you do about it? If you have other sinusitis symptoms, if you had a head cold in the past couple of weeks, or if you’re experiencing seasonal congestion because of allergies, there’s a high likelihood your tooth pain is related to your sinus issues.

Here’s a couple of ideas of what you can do:

  1. You can always call your dentist to discuss your symptoms and rule out other causes of tooth pain.
  2. Try relieving the sinus congestion. If the pressure in the sinus passages is reduced, your pain should also subside. Take some of the usual measures for clearing your sinus passages: steam, eating spicy foods, sleeping with your upper body propped up, taking a decongestant, drinking lots of fluids, covering your face with a warm, damp cloth, etc.
  3. Consider talking to or seeing your doctor.