Ouch, That Smarts! Wisdom Tooth Pain And Your Sinuses

There are few things more uncomfortable than a toothache, unless you have a toothache that encompasses the whole side of your face. That's what pain from an impacted wisdom tooth can feel like, but it's also what pain from a sinus infection can feel like, too. Why are your sinus problems and wisdom teeth connected, and how do you know which part of your body to treat first, if at all? Here's some information to help you figure out what to do about that wisdom pain so that you can feel better soon.

Why wisdom teeth and sinus pain are easy to confuse

Your upper row of teeth run very close to your sinuses, close enough that any pain felt from a sinus infection can easily be mistaken for a problem with a wisdom tooth. Conversely, if you have a problem with a wisdom tooth, you could feel pain in your cheek around where your sinuses are located, especially if the wisdom tooth is straining against your sinus cavity, trying to move up into place inside your mouth.

How to tell which one is causing you pain

If you are suffering from tooth or jaw pain, you probably don't care where the pain is coming from, but you will want it to stop. It can be tricky to tell if a wisdom tooth is behind the pain, or whether an infected sinus is to blame. To figure it out, take a look at your symptoms.

Pain in all of the teeth on one side, and pain in the jawbone, could be a sign of an infected sinus cavity. Unfortunately, it can also be a sign that your wisdom tooth has nowhere to go, and is compacting all of your other teeth to make room for itself.

Swollen, puffy cheeks and a runny or stuffy nose possibly indicates a sinus problem, but you can't be sure that the sinus inflammation wasn't caused by a wisdom tooth pushing on the sinus cavity, preventing drainage of sinus fluids. 

The best course of action

If you can't really identify the source of your dental misery, start by visiting your dentist. A quick examination of your teeth can help identify whether you have a wisdom tooth that is trying to erupt, or whether you have another dental problem such as a cavity or broken crown that could be causing you so much pain. If your dentist fails to find any obvious cause of your tooth pain, you may need to see an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist to have your sinuses examined, and find a way to relieve the pain.

Why your wisdom teeth should go

Once you've determined the cause of the problem and treated it, you might be tempted to ignore your wisdom teeth, if they aren't causing you any pain. That would be a bad idea, and you could end up asking for trouble by ignoring emerging wisdom teeth. There's a very good chance that the pain you felt when your infected sinuses mingled with your emerging wisdom tooth was just the beginning of a long, painful experience. 

Wisdom teeth that don't fit into your mouth can cause a wide variety of painful issues, from damaged teeth to infected gums, and additional sinus problems. If you didn't enjoy the sinus pain the first time, keeping your wisdom teeth might just allow you to experience it again. 

Of course, there's no guarantee that having your wisdom teeth removed will prevent another painful sinus problem that makes your teeth hurt, but it will reduce the likelihood that your teeth will trigger a sinus infection, and less-crowded teeth are almost always more comfortable than ones that are fighting for real estate inside your mouth. 

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