Dr. Stephen A. Price


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Which Cavity is Causing That Toothache?

By: | Saturday, December 30th, 2017 | General Dentistry, Oral Health

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Extractions BURKE, VAAs we progress through the Winter months, there is a good chance that we may encounter a cold at some point. Even a minor cold could create a bit of confusion in your mouth, of all places. We don’t normally consider the connection between the various parts of the body. Unexplained tooth pain is a prime example of this because, sometimes, what feels like a toothache isn’t at all from the type of cavity you’d expect. We want to explain.

The Mysterious Pain-Causing Cavity

Typically, tooth pain relates to the onset of a cavity in the enamel of a tooth. That is precisely why we seek dental care when pain is noticed. It is possible, however, that a different cavity could be the origin of tooth pain: the sinus cavity. You see, right behind the upper arch of teeth is the maxillary sinus. The sinus borders the uppermost part of the mouth, almost meeting the roots of posterior teeth. In fact, the nerves and blood vessels that feed these roots are likely to travel through the maxillary sinus on their way to their destination. Therefore, they may be affected by inflammation in the sinus cavity.

Can You Tell the Difference?

There is a chance you may be able to tell if tooth pain is really tooth pain at all, or if it may be your sinuses. Obviously, one of the telltale signs is that your sinuses are congested. If you have a cold or the flu, and even if you have allergies, you might have associated tooth pain that has origins in the maxillary sinus. Another way to tell if you may actually have a sinus toothache is to notice if your pain is localized to one tooth or if it feels more like all of your teeth are sensitive and achy.  If these symptoms improve with the use of decongestant medication, you may have avoided a cavity that needs repair.

The Bottom Line

Tooth pain is never something that you want to let linger for too long. If a toothache does not coincide with sinus congestion, or if it lasts for more than a week and does not improve with cold or flu medication, the best approach is to see your dentist. We’re happy to schedule a visit for you in our Burke office. Give us a call at (703)-935-2879.



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