Sinuses are air pockets in the skull near your eyes, nose, cheekbones and forehead. They are lined with tiny hairs called cilia which move air, mucus and bacteria through for filtration. If the sinus lining becomes irritated, infected or swollen with allergies or a cold, this can create pressure that pushes into the tooth roots nearest to it. When this happens, it can feel like a standard toothache. The pain typically radiates from the upper back teeth, as these are closest to the maxillary sinus cavities.
The best way to determine whether your sinus tooth pain is caused by a sinus infection or an actual dental problem is to see your dentist. They can perform a limited exam and take an x-ray to see what’s happening inside your mouth. This may help them rule out other problems, such as a fractured tooth, cavity or abscess.
When your sinus toothache flares up, try sipping on a cold beverage through a straw. This will help avoid direct contact with your teeth and reduce the likelihood of a sudden jolt of sensitivity. You can also try licking ice cream or sorbet instead of biting into it. This will allow you to enjoy it longer and reduce the chance of a sudden burst of sensitivity. If the pain doesn’t resolve with a few days of home treatment, then it is time to call your doctor or go to the emergency room. They will be able to diagnose the cause and prescribe the proper medication for you.