Since your sinuses are near your mouth, the pressure accompanying an infection can cause pain in your upper teeth. Pain in the teeth may also result from a toothache.

A sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, can lead to a toothache. Sinusitis occurs when the tissue lining the sinuses becomes inflamed and swollen.

Tooth pain is a common symptom of sinusitis. Sinus pressure and drainage from a sinus infection can cause tooth pain. The pain usually occurs in the upper rear teeth closest to the sinuses.

There are several sinuses throughout the body. The sinuses located near the nose are known as the paranasal sinuses. But you also have sinuses in your brain, known as the dural venous sinuses.

These sinuses are four pairs of air-filled spaces found in the facial bones near your eyes, forehead, and behind your cheekbones. They warm, moisten and filter the air in your nasal cavity. Sinuses also produce mucus, which drains into the nasal cavity and cleans the nose.

When these areas become blocked by fluid, infection is possible. An infection can also occur when bacteria are introduced to the area when coughing or blowing your nose.

The congestion and pressure accompanying a sinus infection can cause discomfort or pain in your upper teeth. This is because the roots of your upper teeth and jawbone are near your sinuses. Sometimes, the discomfort spreads to your lower teeth as well.

Many symptoms of a regular toothache feel similar to those of a sinus toothache. However, sinus tooth pain is primarily felt in the upper molars, affecting several teeth instead of only one.

If you’re having pain in these teeth, and it’s coupled with some of the symptoms listed below, your toothache is likely due to a sinus infection. You may also feel a bit low in energy or have a fever.

A toothache caused by dental concerns will likely be the only source of pain, and it could be more intense and focused.

Pain from a sinus toothache may intensify with certain types of movement. Jumping up or bending over may make the pain worse. This is because the sinus pressure shifts as you move. The pain may subside when you’re sitting or lying down.

Sinus infection symptoms are often similar to cold and nasal allergy symptoms. Inflammation and swelling can cause sinus blockage and pressure, leading to facial pain.

Symptoms of a sinus infection may include:

  • head congestion
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • cough
  • pressure or tenderness around your nose, eyes, or forehead
  • thick, discolored mucus
  • bad-tasting nasal drip
  • unpleasant smelling breath
  • ear fullness or pain
  • fever
  • tiredness
  • loss of smell and taste
  • sore throat
  • hoarse voice
  • toothache

Can a sinus infection affect your eyes?

Yes, a sinus infection can affect your eyes. A sinus infection can cause face tenderness, particularly under the eyes or around the bridge of the nose. You may also experience pressure below the eyes, which increases when you lower your head.

Congestion or pressure in the sinus cavities in your nose can affect your optic nerve.

A sinus infection may also extend to the bones and soft tissues around the face and eye sockets. When a sinus infection becomes severe, it can cause complications such as a facial skin infection and reach the tissues around the eye. Doctors typically treat this kind of infection with antibiotics.

You may want to consult with a doctor if you experience facial pain, pressure, or swelling of the eyes that lasts longer than a few days. If you are unable to open your eye, move your eyeball, or experience a change in vision, see a doctor right away.

Can a sinus infection affect your brain?

Many complications can arise from a sinus infection that spreads to the dural sinuses close to the brain. Although rare, a sinus infection can spread to the brain through blood clots or bone due to sinus wall erosion or abnormalities.

Some complications of a sinus infection that affect your brain include:

Common symptoms of these conditions or signs that an infection is affecting your brain can include:

  • headache
  • fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • altered mental state
  • neck stiffness

A sinus infection affecting your brain is rare. However, if the symptoms of your infection last longer than 12 days or get more severe, it is important to see a doctor immediately.

Often sinusitis begins as a regular viral cold and turns into an infection. Some other primary causes of a sinus infection include:

  • allergies
  • bacterial infection
  • fungal infection
  • chemical irritants
  • asthma
  • changes in temperature or air pressure

If you have a weakened immune system, you may have a higher risk of developing a sinus infection.

There are lots of treatment options for a sinus infection. You can start with a few home remedies and move on to a traditional treatment if you don’t see results. Here are a few options.

Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is key to relieving sinus congestion. Make sure you’re drinking enough water and getting plenty of liquids. This helps thin mucus and reduce pressure and blockages in your sinuses. Hot liquids such as soup and tea may be especially soothing.


Breathing in hot, moist air can help to open your nasal passages and relieve sinus pressure. Simply pour boiling water into a large bowl. Position your face above the water, cover your head with a towel, and inhale deeply for a few minutes. You can also take a hot steam shower twice a day.

Sinus flush

Rinsing your sinuses with a saline solution can help to moisturize your sinuses while clearing away allergens and discharge. You can buy a premixed solution. Use a nasal sprayer, Neti pot, or nasal irrigation system with distilled or boiled water to clean your sinuses. No not use tap water.

Limit decongestant nasal sprays

While decongestant nasal sprays can be a good option for treating sinus congestion short-term, they are not intended for daily use. They should not be used for more than 3 days in a row. Using these sprays for extended periods can lead to more congestion instead of preventing it, and you may develop a tolerance over time.

Prolonged use for more than 7 to 10 days can reduce the benefits. They may be used for 7-10 days in combination with a nasal steroid spray.

There are a few ways to treat a toothache before going to a dentist. You can try:

  • Over-the-counter pain (OTC) relievers: You can treat minor toothache pain with an OTC pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or aspirin. Topical numbing pastes or gels containing benzocaine (Anbesol, Orajel) can also be used for pain relief. Products containing benzocaine should not be used in children under age 2.
  • Hot and cold therapy: Alternate using a heating pad or cold compress on the affected area for 15 minutes at a time. Do this a few times throughout the day.
  • Saltwater rinse: Doing a saltwater rinse can help to relieve inflammation and treat oral wounds. Rinse your mouth with this solution for 30 seconds, several times daily.

A doctor may prescribe the following prescription treatments for sinusitis.

Sinusitis treatments

If home remedies or OTC medications aren’t effective, a doctor may prescribe medication. This may include:

  • a decongestant
  • steroid nasal spray
  • mucus-thinning medication
  • allergy-relieving medications, if allergies play a role in your sinusitis

Antibiotics for sinusitis should only be used if other treatment methods are ineffective and bacterial infection is suspected. Some research shows there is no place for antibiotics for people with an uncomplicated sinus infection. A doctor will likely recommend you try other options before prescribing antibiotics.

Depending on the severity, a sinus infection typically lasts less than 4 weeks. Subacute sinusitis can last anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks. If your infection becomes chronic, symptoms may last longer than 12 weeks.

If your toothache continues after other sinus infection symptoms end, you may want to see a dentist or a doctor.

Some signs that you may need to see a dentist or a doctor include a toothache that:

  • lasts for some time
  • doesn’t go away after your sinus infection is gone
  • causes you severe discomfort

A dentist can determine whether gum infection, cavities, or dental abscesses are causing the pain. Grinding your teeth could also be causing your toothache.

Consider seeing a doctor if the dentist doesn’t find a dental cause for your toothache. They can assess whether a sinus condition or another medical condition is the cause.

Likewise, you may want to see a doctor if your sinus infection doesn’t get better after treatment or if your symptoms are painful or severe.

Sinus infections can cause several symptoms, including toothaches, especially in the upper rear teeth. Though this can cause discomfort, both issues are fairly simple to resolve. Once you treat your sinus infection, your tooth pain should go away.

Usually, symptoms will improve or clear within a week or two. Consider talking with a doctor if congestion or infection persists after treatment or if any of your symptoms worsen.