Toothache is never pleasant, but sometimes the pain is unrelated to a problem with your teeth or gums. In fact, toothache can often be caused by a sinus infection.

Your sinuses are air-filled cavities that are lined with a flexible membrane. When they become infected, swelling and inflammation can occur. The congestion that this creates can cause many symptoms, including toothache. Unfortunately, it can often be tough to decide whether toothache is due to a problem with your teeth or a temporary sinus infection, but there are a few clues.

Sinus Infections Usually Affect the Upper Teeth

Sinus infections can cause pain in both the upper and lower teeth; however, the upper teeth are far more likely to be affected. This is because the maxillary sinuses are located right above your upper teeth, with the roots of the upper molars being closest. When the sinuses swell or become congested, the pressure will push down on the roots of those teeth, creating significant discomfort. If your toothache seems to radiate from this point, it could be caused by a sinus infection.

Sinus Infections Produce Less Localised Pain

When toothache is caused by damage to the tooth itself, you'll typically be able to feel pain or discomfort in that one tooth. The pain may radiate outwards slightly, but you should be able to determine where it originates. In contrast, toothache created by a sinus infection will usually seem to affect a wider area. The pain may seem to come from the upper molars, but it won't feel quite as localised. Additionally, you may find that pain occurs evenly on both sides of the mouth.

Sinus Infections Often Cause Further Symptoms

In most cases, a sinus infection will affect more than your teeth. When swelling occurs to the degree that the roots of the teeth are significantly affected, it's likely that you'll also start to feel congested, much as you would if you had a simple cold or were suffering from allergies. If your toothache seems to develop alongside such issues, the pain is likely caused by a sinus infection.

Sinus Infections Can Make Your Bite Feel Off

Finally, you might find that your bite feels slightly off when you have a toothache caused by a sinus infection. The inflammation and swelling that occurs can do more than press against the roots of your teeth; it can actually see your teeth pushed slightly outwards. The amount of movement might not be huge, but even the smallest change can make your bite feel noticeably different.

Talk to your dentist for more information.