Everybody knows someone who’s constantly blowing their nose. It seems like colds, sinus infections, and other nasal conditions are a constant in their lives. In fact, they seem to be sick more often than they aren’t! This might be you, too – do you find yourself constantly reaching for a tissue?
It might surprise you to learn that a lot of those sinus infections could be related to your oral health. In fact, 20 percent of the infections of maxillary sinuses (the ones near your mouth) are related to oral health conditions. At Really Smile Dentistry we’re big believers in the whole body nature of dentistry and this is just one more way you can see oral health reflected in your body!
Sinuses And Smiles: Why The Connection?
If you’ve ever seen a picture of the locations of your sinuses you know the maxillary ones are close to your top row of teeth. In some patients there’s barely any bone there at all, making placing implants and performing other dental procedures difficult.
The close proximity between your upper molars and your sinuses can quickly become a problem if you’re suffering from advanced periodontal disease or a severely infected tooth!
What Oral Health Conditions Cause Sinusitis?
Because the connection is due to how close your sinuses are to your teeth we’re looking at conditions that can spread beyond the tooth and into your bone. The two most common ways this happens is with advanced gum disease or tooth decay that has reached a root, both of which can cause dental abscesses.
Gum disease and tooth decay both have the potential to form large pockets of infected tissue, or abscesses, if they are left untreated. Both are bacterial conditions that only get worse as they spread, and when an abscess forms under the gums or at the root of the tooth there isn’t very far for it to go before it reaches the warm, moist environment of your sinuses.
Abscesses from tooth decay form when the root of a tooth is infected by a cavity. Roots contain soft tissue called the dental pulp, which is full of blood vessels and nerves. When these infections occur it can be very painful, but many patients avoid going to the dentist because of the fear of root canals.
When an infected root is left untreated it will eventually leave the tooth and head into the bone, at which point it’s only a matter of time before an abscess forms. Those painful pockets of infection can eat away at bone and soft tissue until there’s a direct connection between your sinus and mouth. It may be so small that you don’t realize it, but that won’t stop your sinuses from becoming chronically infected.
Gum abscesses can happen at any stage of gum disease but are far more likely in progressed patients. You may notice severe gum recession, loosening teeth, and pus that leaks from between your teeth and gums in advanced gum disease. The pus is a good sign that there’s an abscess present, and though it may not cause constant pain there’s a good possibility that it will lead to the same problems as a tooth abscess.
Treating Dental Abscesses
There are always ways to treat dental abscesses and eliminate the infection that could be causing your sinus conditions.
- Root canals are used to treat abscesses in teeth, and in many cases allow us to eliminate the infection without extraction. Root canals are not the painful, horrifying treatments you’ve heard of. Instead, the allow us to save your tooth, eliminate pain, and prevent the infection from becoming worse.
- Abscesses of the gums need to be treated surgically. A procedure to drain and seal the abscess needs to be performed, but in those cases you can still experience plenty of relief.
Find Relief At Our Carmel Office
The key in treating these infections is always to eliminate pain and help you feel better in the long term. If you’re concerned that your chronic sinus problems could have something to do with poor oral health then don’t take chances when we could help you today! Undiagnosed sinus infections could have a quick and easy fix by seeing us as soon as you can!
Schedule an appointment at Really Smile Dentistry by calling 317-451-4050 or by filling out our online request form. We look forward to seeing you soon!