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Seasonal allergies and tooth pain: is there a connection?

How tooth pain can be related to spring allergies

By Nicole Dean

‘Tis the season to welcome the beauty of spring — warmer weather, blooming plants and trees, along with longer hours of daylight. Most of us welcome the warmer weather and spring colors with open arms. However, there are a few of us that dread this time of year and cringe with the thought, because this time of year means the explosion of pollens and molds, thus resulting in itchy watery eyes, stuffy or drippy noses, sneezing, facial pain, headaches, and ­— TOOTH PAIN!

Yup, you read that right. Tooth pain. Many people are unaware that seasonal allergies can cause toothaches, pains, sensitivity, and discomfort. Your teeth and sinuses, in a way, go hand in hand, and sinus issues caused by those darn seasonal allergies can and do affect the comfort of your teeth. The roots of your upper back teeth, the maxillary molars, actually project into your sinuses and are only separated by a thin bone and the sinus membrane. When your sinus lining is inflamed, like a sinus infection, not only are your sinuses irritated and painful but the nerves of the teeth projecting into your sinus can get very irritated also due to the added pressure which in turn can cause teeth to ache, throb, feel hypersensitive to cold, and in some cases feel a little mobile.

Sometimes these teeth symptoms are treated as a tooth problem when actually it may be a sinus issue instead. When calling your dentist to report the issue of an achy tooth, ask yourself if you’ve been experiencing the sniffles, sneezing frequently, or pain or pressure around the nose, eyes, cheekbones, or forehead. If you answered yes, then your tender tooth may be the product of a pesky sinus infection or inflamed sinuses due to allergies. More than one extraction or root canal has been performed on a molar tooth when the real underlying problem was not at all an infected tooth but really inflamed sinuses. Unfortunately, sometimes seasonal allergies can and are misdiagnosed as the tooth being the culprit instead of the sinuses. 

Some symptoms that may indicate to you or your dentist that the apparent tooth pain is probably an inflamed sinus, is if several back teeth are simultaneously painful, and the person has a history of seasonal allergies or frequent sinus infections. Additionally, if dental tests to determine the vitality of the tooth are normal, this is a fairly good indication that the tooth is not the problem, the problem lies within the sinuses. But, please keep in mind that an infected tooth can quickly lead to an infected sinus while an infected sinus can lead to an infected, dying tooth. So regardless of which came first, it is always a good idea to seek professional dental/medical advice and care if you are unsure or something doesn’t feel quite right. Be sure to mention to your provider that you’ve been experiencing either tooth or sinus issues and that one could have possibly led to the other. 

Many natural remedies are available to relieve sinus pressure and relieve allergy symptoms and in turn, can also help with any dental discomfort those may be causing. Essential oils, saline nasal mists or sprays, or a warm moist compress are all great ways to relieve symptoms if you are a seasonal allergy sufferer. n

Nicole Dean is the Office Manager for Dr. William J. Twohig DDS. Nicole has been working in the dental field for 14 years now, many of which were spent as a chairside assistant. She is certified in CPT and has also trained in cross coding for medical/dental billing, medical law and ethics, healthcare customer service, and health in the human body and disease.

Dr. Twohig practices dentistry in Weyauwega, using a natural and holistic approach. Dr. Twohig and his staff are dedicated to advanced education in traditional and alternative approaches in dentistry. In their office they look at not only dentistry but they incorporate a whole-body approach to the dental treatment and services they provide to their patients.  Dr. Twohig works with a large group of natural practitioners, chiropractors, acupuncturists, traditional doctors and specialists in muscle testing, nutrition, homeopathy, tap therapy, aromatherapy, detoxification, and much more.

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