Toothache or Sinus Infection

Many times we see patients with “toothache” pain who actualy have a sinus infection or sinus issue. How can you tell the difference? One of the first things I learned in dental school was that the patient will always tell you what is wrong with them. What does that really mean? It means that by listening to the patients symptoms and complaints, they will tell you what is wrong with them.
Sometimes a toothache can actully be a sinus infection and not a toothache. Here’s how to tell. If it is a sinus infection:
1) Patient has a history of sinusitis
2) Several teeth hurt, not just on tooth
3) The teeth affected are upper teeth
4) Several teeth on the top are sensitive to percussion ( tapping on the teeth is painful)
5) Both sides of the upper teeth hurt, upper right and upper left teeth hurt or are sensitive to percussion.
6) There are no obvious reasons that the teeth should hurt, no cavities or tooth infections

When the dentist can rule out odontogenic (tooth) origin of pain and other causes of pain, then a possible reasom may be sinus infection. An antibiotic for sinus infection ( Z-Pack) can be given. If symptoms subside, then on can conclude that the pain is not a toothache, but a sinus infection.

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