Can a sinus infection cause a toothache?
Answer From Cindy Zhou, D.M.D., M.S.
Yes, a sinus infection (sinusitis) can cause a toothache. In fact, pain in the upper back teeth is a fairly common symptom with sinus conditions.
The sinuses are pairs of empty spaces in your skull connected to the nasal cavity. If you have sinusitis, the tissues in those spaces become inflamed, often causing pain.
The largest sinuses are a pair above the back teeth of your upper jaw. The roots of the upper teeth are very near or may even extend into the sinus cavity. Consequently, inflammation in the sinuses might cause pain in nearby teeth. Similarly, damage to or infection in a tooth may lead to persistent (chronic) sinusitis.
If you have a toothache, first consult your dentist for an exam. He or she will look for possible dental causes for the toothache, such as gum disease, cavities or other infections.
If your dentist rules out a dental cause for the toothache, consult your doctor. He or she will consider whether a sinus condition or another medical problem is causing pain.
Cindy Zhou, D.M.D., M.S.
March 07, 2023
From Mayo Clinic to your inbox
Sign up for free and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips, current health topics, and expertise on managing health. Click here for an email preview.
ErrorEmail field is required
ErrorInclude a valid email address
To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which
information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with
other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could
include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected
health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health
information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of
privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on
the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.
Thank you for subscribing!
You'll soon start receiving the latest Mayo Clinic health information you requested in your inbox.
Sorry something went wrong with your subscription
Please, try again in a couple of minutes
See more Expert Answers
- Kellerman RD, et al. Rhinosinusitis. In: Conn's Current Therapy 2021. Elsevier; 2021. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 22, 2021.
- Patel ZM. Acute sinusitis and rhinosinusitis in adults: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Feb. 22, 2021.
- Psillas G, et al. Odontogenic maxillary sinusitis: A comprehensive review. Journal of Dental Sciences. 2021; doi:10.1016/j.jds.2020.08.001.
- AskMayoExpert. Chronic rhinosinusitis. Mayo Clinic; 2020.
- Toothache and infection. Merck Manual Professional Version. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dental-disorders/symptoms-of-dental-and-oral-disorders/toothache-and-infection. Accessed Feb. 22, 2021.