If you are experiencing facial pain, it could be caused by a variety of reasons. But most of the time, discomfort in your face will be due to either dental problems or sinus issues. It can be difficult to tell the difference between the two. What follows are a few ways you can determine whether you have a toothache or a sinus problem.
It’s Probably Your Sinuses If…
- The pain is widespread throughout an area of your mouth, as opposed to just in one tooth.
- The discomfort is located in an area close to the maxillary sinus (the cheekbone area) and in your upper back teeth, the roots of which are located very close to your maxillary sinus.
- You feel pain in your teeth at the same time that you are experiencing other problems with your sinuses, such as a head cold, the flu, or allergies.
- You suffer from chronic nasal congestion along with toothaches.
- The pain is a dull ache.
- The tooth pain is accompanied by headaches.
- If the pain increases when you bend over.
- You experience sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks.
- Your dentist can’t find any indication of cavities or other dental problems on an X-ray.
It’s Probably a Toothache If…
- The pain is centralized in one specific area, on one specific tooth.
- You’re experiencing a throbbing pain in the tooth.
- The pain is sharp and increases over time and/or when you apply pressure on the tooth by biting down or chewing.
- You notice that gum tissue is swollen and/or tender around the affected tooth.
- Your dentist detects a problem with the tooth that is painful.
A note of caution: If you are experiencing intense, sharp pain in a particular tooth, it’s important to contact your dentist right away. You could be experiencing an abscess, which is an infected tooth. Any infection should be treated as quickly as possible (including a sinus infection), but an abscessed tooth can get worse very quickly. As is the case with all infections, letting it go for too long could result in a very serious situation, so be sure to contact your dentist if you experience this type of sharp pain.
Of course, the only way to know for sure whether your pain stems from a toothache or your sinuses is by visiting your dentist or doctor. So use this list only as a starting point, then contact your dentist or doctor to remedy the problem.