When it comes to discomfort in our face and head, severe pain can interrupt every aspect of our life. From how we perform in the workplace to how we treat our family at home, it can sometimes feel as if we cannot function at all. If you have ever experienced a sinus infection or toothache, you know that the two can be easily confused. There are some ways to differentiate them and pinpoint what is causing you pain – and thus, how to treat it.
Feeling the Pressure
Sinus issues rarely happen just once to a person. In most cases, sinus pressure and infections stem from a genetic predisposition for allergies and nasal problems. If a person continues to experience sinus issues, their primary care physician may diagnose them with sinusitis, a condition where the nasal and sinus cavities become irritated and inflamed causing extreme discomfort in the nose, eyes, and forehead.
While sinus pain can definitely radiate as low as the mouth and jawline, sinus pressure typically stays a bit further north. The assumption is that your sinus is located in just one spot under your eyes and into your cheeks. The truth is, there are actually four separate sinus cavities. The one that would cause toothache-like pain is the maxillary sinus, the cavity directly above the top jawline. Even if the maxillary sinus is the one that is inflamed, here are some ways to differentiate it from a toothache:
- Pinpoint the Pressure. If you can put pressure on your upper teeth and gums without discomfort, chances are it is not a toothache.
- Symmetry. A sinus will rarely flare up on just one side of the face. If your pain is located on both sides, rather symmetrically, you can bet that it is a sinus issue.
- Cold Symptoms. Sinus problems are almost always accompanied by one or more cold-like symptoms such as runny nose, congestion, cough, and sore throat.
The Achey Tooth
While dental issues can definitely be blamed on genetics, most toothaches are actually due to trauma, poor dental habits, and sugary diets. As a tooth becomes infected or inflamed, there are several symptoms that pop up that aren’t related or similar to sinus pressure. If you are experiencing any of these issues, you may need to be seen for an emergency dental appointment.
- Sensitivity. A toothache will make the inside of your mouth incredible sensitive. Touching the infected tooth and surrounding gums will be incredibly tender.
- Swelling. You will have usually experience noticeable swelling on the side of your mouth that has the infected tooth.
- Fever. Sinuses can cause a gradual onset of fever from the accompanying cold, however, a toothache will cause a sudden fever.
Getting the Right Care
While a primary care physician can tell you if you have a toothache instead of a sinus issue and a dentist can refer you to a primary doctor for sinus problems – the two are diagnosed and treated entirely differently. A person with a sinus problem may need to be referred to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) Specialist.
If you do have a toothache and your pain started suddenly – do not wait for care. A simple toothache can turn serious very quickly. Contact Premier Dental Center Boerne right away for an appointment.