Monday, November 28, 2011

Poor Oral Health a Contributing Factor in Sinus Infections

Oral health could be a contributing factor in sinus infections.  Upper sinus infections can be worsened by gum disease or cavities.  Patients and dental professionals may forget how close the sinus cavities are to the mouth and teeth.  For these reasons dental health and regular checkups are an important part of diagnosing and treating upper sinus infections.

Sinuses have several pairs of left and right sinuses including ethmoid, frontal, maxillary sinus cavities and sphenoid.  Maxillary sinuses are the largest of the paranasal sinuses.  They are located in the upper jaw areas under the eye sockets and at the back of the cheekbones. 

When the flow of mucus gets blocked, a sinus infection may result.  Colds and influenza are common causes of maxillary sinusitis.  A deviated septum, an abnormality in the ridge which obstructs the nasal passage, causing drainage problems and poor ventilation can cause a sinus infection.  Another cause is an enlarged turbinate’s.  If these conditions are not the root of the problem, dental origins should be examined. 
Frequent sinus infections or a sinus infection that will not go away, even after treatment, may have a possible oral link.  Dental causes of maxillary sinusitis are often over looked by general practitioners accustomed to finding bacterial infection and allergies as the origin of the sinus infection.  A thorough dental exam should be considered. 

Some of the most common symptoms of an upper sinus infection are foul smelling yellow-ish-green mucus discharge from the nasal passages and a toothache from the molars of the upper jaw.  Most people have difficulty in distinguishing the difference between a toothache and a sinus infection because the roots in the upper teeth are near the maxillary sinus cavities. 
To determine whether a sinus infection is the cause of a toothache, it is necessary to see a dentist, who can determine the location of the pain.  Where the pain is located indicates whether or not it is a sinus infection.  Research has shown a connection between maxillary sinus infections and impacted wisdom teeth, cavities, crown fractures and unfinished dental work. 

It is necessary to seek advice of a dentist or an ear, nose and throat doctor to know the right treatment.  Several treatments are available depending on the reason of the nasal problem that causes toothache, including allergy medication, nasal drops, antibiotics or nasal wash regimen.  In addition, dental treatment is necessary to treat areas affected by sinus infection. 

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