Can a Sinus Infection Be Caused by a Tooth?

Can a Sinus Infection Be Caused by a Tooth?

Sinus Infection Can Cause Tooth Pain

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post discussing sinus infections, prompted by my wife’s experience.  She had severe tooth pain caused by a sinus infection.  While that post discusses how a sinus infection can cause tooth pain, it never addressed the opposite question: Can a tooth cause a sinus infection?

Sinuses are simply chambers in your head that allow air to circulate to get warm and moist before it travels down to  your lungs.  Normally, the body is able to keep the sinuses clean and healthy, despite the dark, moist environment that bacteria love.

However, when conditions are right, bacteria can grow out of control in the sinuses, causing a sinus infection.  One cause of sinus infections is the common cold.  Interestingly enough, teeth can also cause sinus infections.

Before we get into a discussion on how teeth can cause sinus infections, we’ll talk about where the sinuses are located.

Where Are Sinuses Located?

There are a few different sinuses located in the facial area — around the cheeks, nose, and above the eyes.   The diagram below gives you a little better idea of where the sinuses are, and how they look when they are healthy, versus how they look when they are infected.

How Sinusitis Can Cause a Toothache

If you look at the diagram above and imagine a row of upper teeth, you can see how the roots of the upper teeth come into close contact with those sinuses on each side of the nose.   These sinuses are known as the maxillary sinuses.  While there are several sets of sinuses, the maxillary sinuses are the only sinuses that can also be infected by a tooth-related problem.

How Often Do Teeth Cause Sinus Infections?

Hupp’s Contemporary Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery textbook states, “Periapical or periodontal infections of maxillary posterior teeth may erode superiorly through the floor of the maxillary sinus.  Approximately 20% of cases of maxillary sinusitis are odontogenic.”

Basically, that’s a fancy way of saying that tooth and gum abscesses of the upper back teeth can eat through the bone and invade the maxillary sinus.  It further says that about 20% of all maxillary sinus infections are caused by tooth infections, rather than another cause.

Below, you’ll find a couple of examples of how tooth infections or abscesses can cause sinus infections.

A Case of an Abscess Close to the Sinuses

Here is an x-ray of a tooth that had a root canal and crown done previously, but the infection at the roots had never quite healed.  I have outlined some of the important structures below for those of you who are not accustomed to reading x-rays.

Abscess Near Sinus in a Molar

I colored the sinus blue and the tooth infection red in the x-ray below:

As you can imagine, the infection and the sinuses do overlap, as you can see in the x-ray below.

Abscess Near Sinus in a Molar Abscess and Sinus Outlined

Although it looks like the sinus and the infection are overlapped on the x-ray, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the infection has broken into the sinus and causing a sinus infection.  It could be that the abscess is either in front of or behind the sinus in this x-ray, because the x-ray is simply a snapshot of the whole area and doesn’t tell us if things are closer to the front or the back.

If you take a look at the x-ray above, you can see how close the maxillary sinus is to the upper teeth.  Sometimes there is only a thin membrane separating the roots of the upper teeth and the sinus, making it very easy for an infection to travel into the sinuses.

Although this person wasn’t exhibiting any symptoms of a sinus infection, but the x-rays do a good job of showing just how close the abscess is to the sinus.

A Case of Sinusitis Caused by a Tooth

This person had chronic sinusitis for the last few years, that started shortly after she had a metal post put into one of her upper back teeth.  Upon looking at her x-rays I noticed that the metal post that was put in one of her upper teeth looked like it had pierced through edge of the tooth and gone slightly into the bone.  This caused an abscess that was leaking into her sinus.

Here’s the x-ray of her upper right teeth:

Sinus Infection Caused by a Tooth Abscess

To make the x-ray below easier to see, the tooth is green, the infection is red, and the sinuses are blue:

Sinus Infection Caused by a Tooth Abscess with Abscess, Tooth, and Sinuses Outlined

Sadly, due to the fracture in the tooth caused by the large metal post, the tooth had to be extracted.

The oral surgeon who extracted the tooth told me that the tip of the tooth broke off just above the metal post, causing the root fragment to get pushed into the sinuses during extraction.  He had to open up the sinus to retrieve the root and he was able to suction out a lot of the infection — he said it was a pretty bad infection.

Teeth Can Cause Sinus Infections

While sinus infections can cause teeth to to hurt, hopefully this post has helped you see that infections from the upper back teeth can easily make their way into the sinuses and cause sinus infections.

It is important to remember that unhealthy teeth are just one cause of sinus infections, and that there are several other causes.  If you suspect your sinus infection is caused by a tooth, you should see your dentist to confirm this.

Do you have any questions, concerns, or comments?   Feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

Top Image © Lightspring/
Sinusitis Diagram © Alila Medical Media/
All Other Images ©


  1. Im glad i read this article. I didnt know how close the maxillary sinus are to the teeth. I am in a great deal of pain. My ear nose tounge head and upper left teeth hurt. I went to a family doctor and she told me that everything was altight and i had probably sinus and it was nothing she can do. She told me to take some ibuprofen for the pain, and over the counter medicine. Im still in pain and after reading this article i decided to call my dentist. Last year i was experiencing a similar pain, and i have a root canal in one of my left teeth. I can not believe this may happen again in the same side . I was hopping it was just a sinus problem, i dont know why my nerves are dying since i take good care of my tooth…..

    • Glad it helped, Irene. There is a possibility that there is some residual infection around the tooth with the root canal, and that could cause sinus issues as well. I hope your dentist can pinpoint the problem for you – Have a great day!

      • I have a question also I had a filling done on my bottom tooth an since that I been getting massive pain in my bottom right side of my jaw and the pain is leading up to my ear what should I do, The pain is leaving me with sleepless nights??

      • I have just gone through same thing for the last year dentist told me was not possible doctor took a long time to refer me I have since had ct scan and same thing root canal has gone through to sinus, good news I new what problem was bad news infection been going on so long now it has spread to all my 4 sinuses and in cheek bone need op asap but need to find dentist willing to fix the tooth as tooth and gums still very healthy..
        Can I ask did you experience any bad smells as I did and I first smelt it when dentist was cleaning out my canel I questioned him after he told me it was the anaesthetic nothing to do with the tooth

        • I had a crown put on root canal. I’ve got foul smell and sinus drainage on one side (where tooth/gum is infected). The smell and taste are driving me crazy. I was put on antibiotic two days ago, but no relief. Dentist won’t be in until Monday. Good grief. I need relief.

          • Hi, did you find relief? I just had a re-root canal. 3 days after the re-root canal, I have the foul smell, drainage and severe pain in my nostril just above the same tooth. I feel like I’m going crazy with this smell. I’ve been on antibiotics for 5 days with no relief.

        • Yes you should go see a holistic or biological dentist. They are the best to go to for these things. They completely know how teeth can become toxic to your whole system. Look up Toxic Teeth. Please..

      • what do you do if the antibiotics arent helping just making you very sick to the stomach how can you treat this without those nasty antibiotics please help me i know this is whats happening to my tooth and my sinuses

      • Hi Tom, so I’ve just found out I have a massive abscess above my front left tooth and I’ve been having extreme nasal problems lately to where I can’t even touch my nose it’s excruciating!
        The tooth has previously had a root canal and crown put on it about 5 years ago, what is the best way to treat this? As it is my front tooth and I’m simply terrified to have no front tooth!

      • I have two broken back teeth nose is in a bad way chest is rattling been told my cavity wall in my nose is blocked it’s not am very depressed get bad tooth pain

  2. I have been battling allergies late this season due to our late spring season this year. My sinuses started hurting over a week ago.. first the right side and now the left.. the left side is worse and I have a lime green thick mucus that is hard to discharge. Yesterday I had some mild pain in my back upper teeth especially in the eye tooth. Today it is unbearable so I have started amoxicillin and am looking for some home remedies for the tooth pain… it is worse than any abscess or cavity I have ever experienced!!.. any suggestions??.. I cannot touch them together and any talking, eating is just plain unbearable. Thank you for any tips you may have.

  3. Like stated sometimes it is very difficult to ascertain whether the abscess is really into the sinus. Thats why everyone needs a 3D tomo, In this day and age, they are just so cost prohibitive. As always the pricing over the years should come down.

    And of course we get a lot of false alarms too, where we have molars with no fillings with no signs of fractures and they say that their teeth are throbbing. Usual signs they say are that their teeth feel taller or sensitive to bite. And it only takes radiographic evaluation to realize that the sinuses are draped over the molar and premolar roots and they are congested.

  4. I have had a problem with my sinuses ever since I had my teeth cleaned in Feb of this year.
    I went to the doctor and she put me on antibiotics over 5 times and they never cleared up the infection because I still have pain in one side of my nostril on the right side and my right ear hurts and I have swelling on the right side of my throat that feels like an infection. I have had this problem ever since they worked on one of my front teeth that had a cavity in it. I can’t see the cavity anymore because they filled it in with a feeling but
    I have had pain in it ever since they drilled in it and whenever I drink cold or warm stuff the sensitivity is horrible. I think it is a teeth problem probably a sinus tooth infection and Im going to a dentist to maybe get a root canal in it because I cannot stand the pain anymore and the pain infects my ear and my other teeth.
    I have had this problem for over 4 months now and I cant stand it anymore.

    I had a really bad tooth infection in 2012 in one of my molars and a doctor tried to tell me it was a really bad sinus infection but this tooth caused me so much pain that my dentist said it could have killed me because my tooth had a hole inside of it and he said that I started developing bad swelling in my cheek.
    So I had to have my tooth removed and thank God I did. But before I had the tooth removed the doctor that I saw gave me amoxicillan so at least that helped my swelling but very little until I had my tooth removed.

    I hope I don’t have to have my front tooth removed I hope I can get a root canal done instead. I’d just rather get dentures if I could do anything then maybe I wouldn’t have these sinus problems?

    Because usually when I get sinus or allergy problems its just from the summer or winter because of the seasonal allergy problems but nothing like I have had this year.

    • Hello Im Merilyn
      I had a tooth removed in the upper right. The tooth had broken and had become very irritating so I decided to get it removed and OMG my ear my right side of my face and the right side of my nose swell. It hurt the whole weekend I went back to the dentist had sinus infection caused by that tooth now taking antibiotics amoxicillin still feel bad but getting alittle relief.

    • I have had a terrible case of maxillary sinusitis it started the last Sunday in june 2015! It is now July 30 I’m in so much pain,I went to the dentist for a cleaning and x-rays in July of 2014 and was told I had 10 cavities! I was at a pain level of 8 then I got one of my teeth filled and it dropped to a 5 but 3 weeks later I’m still in pain I’ve been through a Zpac and a 10 day course of augmented with prednisone that helped alot but I’m still having problems do you all think getting other 9 cavities filled will help relive this horrible pain?

  5. Bacteria in your mouth can buildup and eventually cause a tooth infection,which in turn may spread to the sinus. The first maxillary molar,s one of the largest and strongest teeth in the upper jaw is usually the culprit because of its proximity to the maxillary sinus.The mucus must move upwards to drain from the sinus into the nose,which does not happen when standing up and thus the sinus gets infected more frequently than the other air cavities.

  6. Can a sinus infection cause pain in your lower jaw? I have swelling in my lower left jaw and pain in my left ear. I went to the doctor and was told that I do not have an ear infection.

  7. Hi, I have a problem with one of my teeth that has had a root canal done then crowned then the root canal redone by a specialist then recrowned. The tooth is on the right upper and forth from the back. The problem seems to occur when I get a cold, with pressure build up and a bad smell coming from around the top of the crown. My dentist tells me to rinse wth salt and hot water but it comes back. Any ideas?

  8. It is common that a Crown tend to leave a Oder in the mouth my suggestion to you
    Is every morning and evening use a water pik and add 2 ounces of mouth wash
    To the water bin for your water pik. After brushing your teeth!!! Hope this helps…

    • Hi Angela,

      No, it’s not common that crowns cause bad odor. A single crown should not. But *clumsily made* crowns cause odor if they are designed as food traps. ‘Flossability’ needs to be tested before permanently cementing a crown. Do hyper-busy dentists have the time for that? I hope so.

      Dental bridges, however, if not taken care of extremely well, commonly cause bad breath. In this case, your waterpik suggestion makes sense. Use all you have in your hygiene-arsenal if you have a bridge (or a crown that traps food) – special floss-holders for bridge wearers, waterpik, mouthwash, thin-bristled toothbrush!

      One word to mouthwash: use NON-ALCOHOLIC ones (better for your gum health) & rotate through a few brands – bacteria will get used / resistant to one type after a few weeks.

      Hope it helped,


  9. I help…..I have been dealing with what I thought was a chronic sinuses infection for 5 yrs. Antiobotic after antiobotic which clears it up and it’s back within a week…This infection is only on one side and is above a tooth with a crown…the crown is 14 yrs old and the dentist says it’s leaking and he could see where bacteria has gotten to the bone…the dentist also said he don’t think it would cause a sinuse infection which makes me wonder if it really is sinuses or an infection in the root canaled tooth . He wants to do a 2nd root canal and put medicine in and leave it for 2 weeks..I’m wondering should I get it pulled?

    • Yes im getting mine out now it was root treated and abses formed its decayed and infected uat the base of tooth by bridge so theyre takind part of bridge and toth away horsy at guys hospital free

  10. I first noticed what I call a blood blister while riding in a pick-up. It broke after holding a cell phone against my cheek and hitting a bump causing it to pop. A few days later I noticed it was back. It is very high on my gums – just below my cheek bone. A month later it was still there and was time for the dentist visit to get my teeth cleaned. It turned out to be above a tooth that needed root canal. He said they 2 were connected. I had the root canal and expected the blood blister to disappear but it did not. Today he cut it off calling it a “sinus tag”. Do you think it will return? What is going on? Also, I am not and never have had any pain thru all of this.


  11. I first noticed what I call a blood blister while riding in a pick-up. It broke after holding a cell phone against my cheek and hitting a bump causing it to pop. A few days later I noticed it was back. It is very high on my gums – just below my cheek bone. A month later it was still there and was time for the dentist visit to get my teeth cleaned. It turned out to be above a tooth that needed root canal. He said they 2 were connected. I had the root canal and expected the blood blister to disappear but it did not. Today he cut it off calling it a “sinus tag”. Do you think it will return? What is going on? Also, I am not and never have had any pain thru all of this.


  12. I have very bad teeth. almost all of my teeth have bad cavities. a few of them are black and rotted down to almost the root. I have been recently diagnosed with chronic sinusitis. I have not been able to smell at all for over 8 years now. can that be caused by my teeth since they are so bad?

  13. Hi Doctor, I recently had a sinus infection. Before that my back tooth got infected several times. My crown is loose. I do not want to lose my tooth. He wants to pull it. This will cause me alot of trouble eating since I have a empty space on the other side from a tooth pulled years ago. And the space will show when I smile. Is there any options f8r me

  14. can orthodontics work cause a sinus infection? I am currently having orthodontics work done to spread my top teeth apart to make them fit better to my bottom teeth,and I am having sinus issues that I have not had before.

  15. I had 7 upper teeth removed last November, one was the last molar on the right upper side. Six months after having the teeth pulled I went back to the dentist because i was having problems with my sinuses. The x-ray showed something close to the sinus. I went to a EMT doctor who had a CT scan done and that showed a tooth fragment had been left behind. I have had two sinus surgeries because of the infection that this has caused. . Another surgery is possible, I have been told that a tooth fragment is different then a tooth root and that this fragment is more then likely the cause of all of this. Can a tooth fragment cause such a huge problem?

  16. I suspect I have a similar problem. Had root absorption 15 years ago and we (dentist and periodontist) have been babying the tooth knowing that it will have to come out someday. The tooth is some times loose, some times not. But I had a periodontist cleaning last week and from my eye to ear and upper left area where the bad tooth is (including forehead) is numb and some pain. I have antibotics on hand and it seems to help. There are no easly solutions for an implant since I need a sinus lift. I am lucky to have had this tooth this long. But I suppose it has to go.

  17. Hi, I have been doing some research on this topic, and have a question for the dentist. I have what looks like an abscess on my, counting from the top left front tooth 4 over (sorry not good with dental language), at the crease of my upper lip and gum line. Went to the dentist, January 5, to get an antibiotic to get this cleared up. I was told my teeth look good, because I have had root canal treatments on this tooth and it has a crown (which fell off the prior Saturday, but was replaced Monday). I was told I have a sinus infection, but all articles are stating the back molars. Also I have been on medicine since Monday, Cephalexin 500 3x a day for 10 days. The abscess has not went away or has not improved at all. Should I see a regular doctor? My dentist is old school and really doesn’t explain much.

  18. I used to get severe pain on this sphenoid sinus area periodically. I had a decayed tooth on the left side which I noticed late. Last week I did a tooth coloured restoration for the cavity on my left tooth from clearbrook dental in Oshawa. This also brought down the pain I used to get. Is there any relation between cavity and sinus?

  19. I have a had root canel twice on this tooth with a crown finally . Last year about this time started bothering me again with painful on that specific tooth,.i t came and went for a month at which time I was back in Canada,,X-rays were taken but one of my lowers was in née of a root canal and could be causing the referred pan.. Happillily thr problem seem remedied,,however the problem has risen again. Very painful on the original upper right crown with root canal what???

  20. I have a tooth that broke down to the gum line. I’ve had 2 sinus infections but today my face hurts when I touch it right down to the broken tooth. I have an appointment with a new dentist tomorrow and will probably extract although I think it may be infected.. ie the pain in my face upon touching. Long story short, is there anything I can do to drain my sinus before I go to the dentist tomorrow? Thanks in advance

  21. I need realy help. When I was 14 I lost three of my last molars top left side because an infection in a one and a bad bridge work. 15 years later appeared a piece of bone in the palate inside through the skin that the oral surgeon had to take by surgery. After another 18 years I decide d that I needed implants for those three molars . I’m damage my right side and I don’t have to good teeth. My oral surgeon did all his job lift my sinus let them heal, put the first step the screws but the one near my first tooth got infected realy bad and he took it. After one year he put it back on and the pain started agin realy bad like was infected but no it was a not visible perforation that went to my sinus not know due to another infection or the screws but in the X-ray didn’t show perforated only when he sprayed to clean I passed out due to the pain and blood and fluid were coming out my nose . We wait another 6 months and now he did some plasma fibrin insertion ( the other 2 screws are fine) after one week he took off the stitches one didn’t closed well and then sin started again after 12 days , he put another stich and tells me that seams my bridle is near the muscle and the nerve and he will have to cut it internally in 4 months when he will try to put again for third time the screw for the future implant. I’m very scared the pain still there Percocet doesn’t make this pain at all better. I have chronic sinus infection since very very young girl(7 years old) now I’m 50 and I don’t know what to expect can you help me?

  22. Hi everyone. Having read this article makes me think that I might have a sinus infection. I can taste some bad smelling stuff coming out from my upper-left. Gives me bad breath, but I have no pain. I went to my dentist and asked him to take x-rays of that area to see what causes this, he said there is nothing there. Bear in mind, I have root canal done on one of my upper-left teeth.

    I don’t know whether its a bad root canal treatment (had it done a long time ago) or sinus infection.
    Is it possible to treat the sinus infection without surgery?

  23. Hell Dr.
    A month ago I had a root canal on tooth # 12. About 1 week after my left side of face started hurting so bad I went to my regular dentist and he said I had a sinus infection. He gave me antibiotics which did not help. So he told me to go back to specialist, which I did. He checked my teeth and said it was fine and I had to disagree with him. My face is swollen, can’t eat and in so much pain. I have had to wear tissue in my ears for the last 6 years since I have started all this dental work. If I take it out for any length of time my whole face and teeth hurt so bad it’s unbearable. He suggested a second opinion but why should I if he says his work is right? I now have severe bronchitis so I’m not feeling to good. I haven’t a clue what to do here. He also suggested a CT scan as the roots in my teeth are so long he thinks maybe they have gone into the head area because of the pain in my eye and head. Any thought would be very grateful. Thanks

  24. hi im indian has came au in Nov.2014.-Before coming to australia I had a part dental fixure (failed)which were removed a few days earler to visit au. However my uper last molr start bleeding ocasionaly or when I press it it release pus type blood.After cominng to au I started nalal as well as cough mucus contineously.3 months has elapsed no relief inspite of amoxil 1000 mg.I have headache nasal congession phelgem without stop head sinus congession.It does not effect at sleeping time.Ultimately returning india.Any suggession pl.

  25. For the last 3.5 years I have been suffering from a combination of sinus type discomfort and disgusting drainage down the back of my throat. This happens in relation to a terrible sensation of pressure on the left side of my face. When it gets bad, it seems to spread across a nerve that forces my forehead muscles to construct into a furrow that I cannot relax.
    I have had a lot of dental problems. As a person with horrible teeth and many treatments and extractions, I am familiar with the taste of an infected or decaying tooth. This is what drains down the back of my throat. I have had 3 ct scans of my sinus by 3 different ENTs. They all conclude my sinus looks fine.
    10 years ago tooth 12 and 13 were treated with a root canal. The #12 tooth was badly decayed and I was warned that her repair may have only given me a few extra years. Neither tooth was crowned immediately but they were built up. 13 has 1 post & 12 has 2 posts. 7 years later both teeth lost their fillings and I went a year before returning to have them looked at. I had already lost teeth 4&5 from chewing on them after the fillings broke off & I assumed these teeth would need to be pulled. As well. My dentist told me they were ok and we could crown them. During the preperation I complained about the pressure and bad taste. He discovered via xray that I needed 12 and 10 retreated by an endodontist. That same week #14 was discovered to be calcified and needed to be treated by an endo as well. Unable to afford a licensed endodontist I went to USC to see a student. #10 was later discovered to be damaged from the re treatment at USC (likely very difficult removal of post) and was later pulled. #14 was treated last year. But now has it’s own pressure sensation. (Separate from the nagging one I’ve had for 3+ years, this one is further back on my face) my primary dentist tells me both teeth look ok. Out of frustration and with the taste of decay in my mouth and draining from my sinus down my throat, also #14 making my floss stinky, I paid for a full set of X-rays (required by USC Orofacial pain clinic.) I was told that #14 has a lesion. They said something about it likely to have occurred after my root canal because it was calcified. They wanted me to be seen by another endodontist. They also said #12 shows signs if inflammation. They said the nerve may have been damaged and even if I pull the teeth I may still feel the horrible intense pressure & facial tension. They also want #12 looked at. Last time it was treated they had to go through the gum. They were afraid the posts removal with such little tooth structure could crack it. I believe strongly I have an active infection. My left gland in my neck is always aching and that taste!!! I know what a bad tooth tastes like!! My symptoms feel better but never go away after antibiotic treatment. I started buying antibiotics on line just to control my own symptoms. I recently (3months) ago stopped because I was afraid that taking them was keeping my infection from showing up on X-rays. Now tooth 12 is feeling a bit loose. I’m so frustrated. I feel like my primary dentist doesn’t believe me. I asked him to just pull it but he doesn’t want to pull a tooth if appears to him to be ok. I’m not crazy. I believe my tooth is rotting and it’s draining into my sinus, then runs down my throat. Sometimes if I get a good glob of it, the pressure feeling goes down a few days. I have to sleep with gum in my mouth so I don’t have to taste it when I wake up. (That’s when the taste & pressure is the strongest.) what can I do???

    • Hi Jaime,
      I read your post and I’m wondering if your dental and sinus problems are now ok. I may be having the same issues.

  26. […] Dicha enfermedad se produce cuando los senos paranasales se inflaman por la infección de un virus, una bacteria o un hongo. Estos tipos de senos son espacios que están llenos de aire en el cráneo y, por lo general, el moco y el aire pueden circular a través de ellos sin problema, detalla el sitio de la Biblioteca Nacional de Medicina de EEUU, MedlinePlus. Específicamente, se encuentran ubicados alrededor de las mejillas, la nariz y por encima de los ojos, pero hay unos llamados senos maxilares, que están en contacto cercano con las raíces de los dientes superiores. Y debido a esta proximidad, pueden ser infectados por una complicación vinculada con los dientes, amplía el portal de información dental, Oral Answers. […]

  27. My upper right tooth # was cracked, but I did not know it. I went to the Endodontist to have a root canal but was put on antibiotic for approx. 1 week. ( Ciprofloxacin x 7 days. He stated I had a bone infection and abscess that had reached the sinus. I went to a local dentist after the root canal to have my crown repaired on that tooth. The dentist stated that I had an infection that would need antibiotics . I started Augmentin x 2 weeks. The abscess filled back up in approx. 2 weeks after the second round of antibiotics.
    I went to an oral surgeon to have the tooth extracted and was placed on another antibiotic/Clindamycin for a week.
    I went to an ENT due to the return of the infection. The ENT stated that I have Chronic sinusitis and did now know what caused the infection: ( did not know weather the chicken or the egg came first,
    My septum was badly deviated and the ENT could not get into the right sinus to clean out the infection, so I consequently had a septoplasty He placed the windows in the sinuses and reduction of turbinates.
    The sinuses were washed out and I was placed on antibiotics again for 7 days. I was placed on Cephalexin for 7 days post op. A culture was never done.
    the infection is back ( abscess full) with green drainage. I have irrigated and irrigated to wash it out.
    I need advice badly. I have been told that sinus infections such as mine ” just need to drain”. Don’t you think I need a culture to identify the organism. Do I Need IV antibiotics? help please

  28. Interesting thanks for sharing. I went to my dentist around November 2014 and he commented that my right upper rear tooth that we had done a root canal and a crown back in 2007 was loose. I had noticed some occasional pain from this tooth but it would come and go. Sometime in December ’14 I got a cold and I had one of the worst sinus infections I can remember and it lasted about 6 weeks. I had never had one to last this long before. Well the tooth pain became more consistent and he recommended removal but I got another sinus infection in May ’15, he gave me antibiotics to get rid of it before extracting the tooth. So I took them and the sinus infection cleared up about 3-4 days afterwards I went in to have the tooth removed, it came out in several pieces and he said there was a lot of bacteria in the tooth and it had split under the crown. Two days after the tooth was pulled my sinus infection is back lots of green coming out of my nose and the taste in my mouth is horrible. I don’t want to blow my nose because that’s not recommend with the tooth just being removed, and when I do I get a really bad taste in my mouth. He just called me in more antibiotics today, hopefully the bacteria in the tooth is all that caused this to happen and this round of antibiotics will be the end of it. I will post back with updates, good luck to all.

  29. I’m glad I read this about 6 months ago I had a tooth pulled because it cracked when the dentist he was not nice at all will not go back pulled the tooth it broke apart. He had to cut it out there was still pieces of this tooth left in that I’m finding popping out now
    I have severe gum pain in the site jaw and now very severe through my ear I will be seeing another dentist today
    When I press on the gum where this is the pain is unbearable

  30. I had a sinus rupture while flying- just before landing. Could this be any connection or would it just be from the pressure change as we were descending?

  31. I have recently gone through a very similar scenarios. Mild headaches for over five weeks every day. Went to my dentist three times. The first two times he worked on my bite. The third time he found a possible problem with my back left molar. Sent me to an oral surgeon for a 3-D panoramic x-ray where he found the sinus above this tooth totally blocked. The tooth already had a crown and so the surgeon felt it needed to come out. He started me immediately on AMOX-CLAV for 10 days. Tooth extracted on the 5th day of meds. Everything went well. Six days after I finished the antibiotic I came down with a “cold”. Now it’s the 4th day of the cold and I have a loose cough with yellow phlegm. Is this still drainage from the sinus?
    Thank you!

  32. I have had 2 rounds of cepro 500 , using neti-med flush, hot compress on face 4 times a day, over the counter sedafed, aleve for pain my tooth is killing me I know it’s a sinus infection nothing is working help please 4 weeks today

  33. Yes dear a sinus infection can be caused by a bad tooth. Let me share my experience.
    13 years ago i did a root canal. After 7 years it got infected. The dentist said it was leaking and did over the root canal. 2 years after that the tooth began to hurt again causing pain up my nose and face area. I was giving antibiotics.

    Over the last five years i noticed that i had heavy mucus buildup, sinusitis, breathing problems and the doctors seems confused as to what was happening. My eyes also became infected and was loosing sight.

    About two weeks ago after my routine cleaning the dentist notice that their was a sac over the root canal tooth. I was surprised how much blood was ozing from this sac. The dentist told me that it was the infection coming out on my gum. After reading forums like these and realising that That so many people are getting the same symptoms and only to realize that the one common factor we all have is ROOT CANAL. I immediately ran and took the teeth out. Due to heavy mucus buildup up and chest congestion i develop breathing problems.

    I have not doubt that root canals are dangerous cause it can trap bacteria and if go undetected can enter your blood steam an cause serious problems

    Over a five year period i noticed i started to get

  34. Oh i forgot to mention when the dentist showed me my xray. The sinus was right over the infection like this pic shown here. It benn two days now since i extra and still battling mucus and throat issues

  35. Glad to read this lecture on sinus involvement. Two months ago I had a root canal on tooth 27 (bottom, towards the front). After battling a difficult bronchitis for 3-4 weeks, the root canal suddenly exploded with pain (practically overnight), with enormous pain and fever. Emergency dentist visit revealed a serious infection in the lower jaw, and I was prescribed stat antibiotics and a fast visit to an endodontist. The endo opened up the canal, drained and scaled back on the antibiotics, but kept a third of the dose. Two days later it was worse–and the swelling spread to the upper part of my mouth, including the roof. Question: this article talks about upper dental problems, but is it possible that a severe infection of the lower jaw could spread to the sinuses? I now have crackling in my ears, general congestion, mucus production and slightly less hearing. Note: I have been on higher doses of antibiotics, now including Flagyl, which seems to be working just fine. But could this be causing the sinus inflammation response even if the source is in the lower teeth? Thank you!

  36. Hi leigh. Am not a dentis but from my experience and what i was told by my dentist is that any kind of tooth infection could spread as far as your blood stream and cause trouble.

    You said the swelling spread to the upper jaw hmm. Monitor the situation and keep your dentist posted like i did. Good that you mentioned the ear problem. A friend of mine told me that before she remove her root canal tooth she had ringing in her ear for months immediately after the tooth was removedit stop. Also a friend of hers ear drum burst with a tooth infection.

    My dentist informed me that the mouth, ear, sinus, eyes etc are all connectd so a ttooth infection can spread and cause major problems in these areas

    Hope you feel better


    • Thank you. Yes, indeed, I had a confluence of a root-canal gone awry and a sinus infection. That all affected my Eustachian tube. I was treated with very strong antibiotics (Metronadizole and Clindamycin) for 3 weeks. Also, an Endodentist opened up the root canal and discovered there was indeed some root and nerve left at the base. All was treated permanently and the swelling, pain and fevers have subsided. Whew–that was complicated! Your point about the bloodstream is a good one. Thus, I was put on very high doses of antibiotics for an extended period of time (500mg Metronadizole, 600mg Clinamycin) which knocked that down. One has to be persistent and go to several doctors if necessary.

      • Leigh, are you better now? I had the same thing and it was two teeth that caused the sinus infection. I had them both removed. The last on was a week ago. I still have some swelling in my neck and still feel like I have a sinus infection. I am also on antibiotics. Does this take a while to clear up? My nose and post nasal still have thick mucus and under my eyes are puffy. My eyes are burning also. I feel like I am not getting better! I have been battling this for 8 months now. I am really in a funk.

  37. For the last 5-6 years I suddenly developed a problem of excess mucus draining into my throat and actually getting stuck there. If I can clear it ,which is rare, I am ok for a short time but it always returns. I have been diagnosed with LPR (reflux of the larynx) and proscribed with a PPI,which does nothing, I really question this diagnosis. I can blow my nose or spit (yuk) constantly all day in an effort to clear trhis mucus. Currently my dentist says that I have to have tooth #14 extracted because of decay below the gum line and a shadow of infection in the jaw bone. When looking at an xray from the year earlier the same shadow was there. My question is : could it be that this low grade jaw infection could have been brewing for this 5-6 years and causing this extreme mucus. I have no pain but the constant coughing ,spitting and clearing my throat is going to drive me and everyone else crazy. My throat actually gets raw feeling from the constant abuse. Maybe I will find out soon as the oral surgeon is going to extract the tooth,clean out the infection and do something with the bone so I can get an implant. Just curious if this is a possibility. I have been to an allergist with no help and have experimented removing various foods etc trying to see if I have developed an allergy to anything although I have had no allergies previously. Thanks in advance for any help. John

  38. What do you do when your dentist cannot find anything wrong with your teeth and your doctor is only treating you with antibiotics for sinusitis that doesn’t seem to be improving? I had a CAT scan and they said it was sinusitis. I don’t seem to be improving but the pain is along my right upper rear teeth towards the tip of the roots.

  39. In my opinion (and I’m not a doctor), see an ENT. It is very possible that sinusitis can cause that pain, but you may need more aggressive treatment. Having persistent sinusitis can become dangerous (in the brain area) if it is not corrected. Perhaps your MD needs to culture your sinus to find the right antibiotic, so that can be knocked down. As for the dental issues, you may get a consult from another dentist. However dental infections–when they have gone awry–are pretty symptomatic with local swelling, redness and excruciating pain–and a horrible pain if you bite down because the gasses near the bone expand and you feel that your teeth are higher somehow. Sorry you’re having such a tough time!

  40. I’d like to know if it is likely that the sinus issue will resolve once the tooth is extracted/or an apico is done?

    Thank you

  41. Could a tooth that has been loose due to sinusitis be tightened down again? Or is it something that I will have to live with, will I have to get the tooth extracted or will it be OK? Because a tooth of mine,which was crumbling, had to be removed for that reason. I fear that the dentist may have disturbed the tooth next to it. Then again I am very sensitive to allergens. I don’t know what is going on or what to do. And I do have sinusitis right now and that’s when I noticed it was loose, only the effects from it have been enhanced now and I feel them more and it doesn’t seem like it can be tight again. Can you please help with the situation?

  42. Hello. I have had chronic sinusitis for over three years, I have been on many antibiotics. I have been diagnoses with TN ( Trigeminal neuralgia) and have also been having fevers, bad ears and twitching. Two weeks ago I had a back top tooth removed and now a right top tooth. Both showed abscesses. I’m not sure whether the sinusitis or the teeth caused my abscesses but it has spread all along my top jaw causing holes and pockets. I now need an operation to place a sheild between my jaw and sinus’ and also holes drilled into my sinus’ to allow them to drain. I urge you all to get a through check up, whether with your Doctor or Dentist and stop until you get the help you need. Good luck. Sharon

    • Sharon,
      Did they see the abscesses on a ct scan? Did you have pain in the teeth? Also, how did they determine that is has spread along your jaw?

  43. Nice article but I am quite worried. I have basically not been to a dentist in 30 years (at the time, I had about 4 root canals done and a few cavities filled – I was about 18 or 19). About 6 months ago I started to see some fillings fall out from both my right and left side but couldn’t go to a dentist because I had no insurance and no money.

    I have since gotten insurance (crappy as it is). About a month ago, a back molar (the one next to the wisdom tooth) on the upper left side broke (a piece of it about halfway across the tooth and down near the gum – there isn’t a hole that exposes the gum). I called a dentist closest to me (I don’t have a car and there aren’t many buses in my area so I’m limited with transportation) and made an appointment but they could only get me in on January 20. I was feeling fine, no pain or anything, so I thought it was OK. On Christmas day (2 days ago), the tooth right next to the broken one began to ache. It’s not excruciating pain and it mainly hurts when I bite down on it so it’s tolerable. I’m taking Advil (which is helping) as well as doing salt water rinses and apple cider vinegar rinses (which also help). I’m now trying to find another dentist that will take me earlier than the 20th, as the other dental office claims they don’t have an earlier appointment, as I don’t want to risk the pain getting worse, since it just started.

    Here’s the thing, though. About two months ago, I started getting some sinus pressure and pain on that side of my face. I suffer from chronic migraines so I thought it was related to that. It was like a dull (but persistent) ache around my left cheekbone and across the back near the ear and around the upper jawline (and sometimes the lower jawline also). I went to a doctor and he said I had allergies and gave me a prescription for a nasal spray (which didn’t help) and antibiotics (but I didn’t take them, as he said to only take them if I started to get a fever and feel really bad but that never happened). The sinus pressure/pain went away after about 3 weeks. But earlier this week it returned (though more sinus pressure than pain and more localized around the upper left hand side). It was a few days afterwards that the tooth pain started.

    I’m really praying that it’s not going to be a big issue and that it’s not an abscess. My gut feeling is that the broken tooth is going to have to be pulled (which I am terrified of) and that maybe the tooth pain I’m getting in the tooth next to it (which, as far as I can remember, is a healthy tooth – I really don’t know what is or is not health on that side anymore since I had all my dental work done 30 years ago) is really coming from the broken tooth, as they lay right next to one another (and there is what feels like a slight crack right on that side that borders the healthy tooth).

    Hopefully I can get an earlier appointment with another dentist and get this resolved before the new year!


    • If they give you antibiotics always and I mean always make sure that you take them! It is extremely important, otherwise you could end up very ill and in the ER. Hope all is well.

  44. You have to ask your md ent and dentist and hope one of them cares enough to look into your problem. hopefully they are not concerened on thier income only

  45. I had just gotten my wisdom teeth removed. All four were taken out and he said my bottom ones were very difficult, my the tops were normal. The bottom ones have no pain and have healed nicely. Unlike my top right one. I am now experiencing mucus draining from my top right hole, and I will randomly smell it in my nose. It has an awful rotting bitter taste and the smell is just as bad. Is this a sinus infection? What is my next step to healing this before it gets any worse? ENT Doctor? Or is this something my oral surgeon can fix?

  46. My dentist pulled my infected tooth because I wanted to make sure the infection was completely gone. I had a previous root canal that was infected for years because the dentist (different dentist) had left a piece of drill bit in my tooth and covered it up. I had no idea because he had deadened the roots and my ability to feel an infection. This caused an infection in other teeth and all over my mouth and gums. Anyway when the new dentist pulled this different infected tooth, he was a little angry because he wanted to do a root canal and so he left the infected root in my sinus cavity. Antibiotics do nothing for this infection and I can feel it. So because I am trying not to die, I was wondering what I should do and where should I go next.
    Please help me in my cause…not to die, or sign the petition, or send $3.00

  47. I’m pretty certaiin that i have a tooth that is causing a sinus infection. the tooth is an upper molar and had a large filling in it from childhood. I had a tooth ache and the dentist removed the filling and found the crack. Because of the crack the tooth needed to be crowned. they tested the nerve and he and the assistant had a debate over how little feeling i had in the tooth and whether a root canal was needed or not. they decided against the root canal and crowned the tooth. i started having pain in the tooth and the dentist xrayed it and said it was actually my sinuses and not my tooth. I went to the doctor and was treated for a sinus infection which seemed to clear up and the tooth pain went away. however, slowly my sinus infection returned. i am sure, that my tooth is cause but my dentist says no. my sinus’s are now causing me to have headaches at night and difficulty breathing. Can i make an appointment with an oral surgeon without being referred by my dentist?

  48. I have been dealing with all of these types of issues for quite some time. Nothing in the dental practice is “new” to us. I’m happy to field any questions that anyone else here would like to pose.

    Great topics, btw, I haven’t found a place so busy in such a non hostile environment without any trolling. Kudos to the admins.

    • I feared i was going mad until i read these posts. I had a root canal on upper right back tooth and was fitted with a temporary crown. I took a 2 x 7hr flight within 4 days and felt what i thought was a cold coming on. 3 days later it became chronic running nose and then acute sinus pain. (Have only had sinus once in my life) The facial pain was gone after a course of antibiotics but the clicking noise and blocked feeling in right ear remained.
      I then had the permanent crown placed, even though i wasn’t feeling 100 percent. I have never been able to rid myself of the post nasal drip, ear pressure and clicking noise on swallowing.- all of it is only on the same side as as my root canal. It has continued for 5 months. I saw 2 ENT’s and was placed on so many nasal sprays and saline flushes and steamers and antihistamine plus another 3 courses of anti biotic. Had x-rays and MRI – I returned to dentist twice and his X-ray didn’t show anything wrong… In December I developed non benign vertigo – but it was less a feeling of dizziness but more imbalance. The only relief i could get was from prescription anti inflammatories. ENT insists my ears are clear, mucous is trapped in the bridge of nose. I have never had allergy. Symptoms seemed to ease when i was at high altitude ski resort (go figure) but have now returned. Three days ago returned to dentist who acknowledged possible problem with crown and has removed it- there was severe gum inflammation which x-ray didn’t show- he thinks it crown may have been sitting on top of gum not inside. He didn’t want to tot take mould for new crown because of the inflammation – he fitted a temporary. I was expecting relief but nothing has changed (the temporary fell out 24 hours later and is yet to be refitted) if anything it is slightly worse.ear pressure, nasal drip …. So now I’m convinced it isn’t crown that it is ROOT CANAL… but will an X-ray show ? do i bother going back or go straight to a specialist that can see if there is bacteria in RC… thanks in advance

      • I would suggest that you have the dentist do another x-ray to see if the root canal was successful. Most of the time they are, however from experience I know all to well. All of my upper teeth are now crowned, with the exception of one tooth and my 3 front teeth are a bridge. The bridge was done after I started getting tremendous pain in my teeth and a horrible taste in my mouth. I cracked the front tooth which was a crown at the time and after an x-ray it showed the root was dead. I know all about sinus issues it is sometimes from teeth that are infected. I could even be a different tooth.

  49. I have a major problem with my sinuses. When I have an episode my hole right side of my face hurts from my temple to my jaw all the way down my ear. I have really bad teeth but no way to pay fort then to be pulled and have been this way for quite some time. It’s there a way to get my teeth pulled without it costing a tun of money. I really need to get this fixed I can’t stand to eat a lot of food or the cold air it sends me into shock.

  50. I recently (July) had a porcelain crown put on my upper right tooth. It was chipped. The temporary was fine.. Shortly after permenant crown installed I went to dentist twice because back of crown had a high ridge which my tongue constantly ravaged to. It is now 7 months later & my tongue cannot adjust and can be a bit sore. He says he cannot grind the ridge down anymore. I now have a nasty taste in my mouth & constant clear mucus on back of the tooth. Many X-rays, went to ENT and gum specialist who found nothing. I know something is.wRong but no one seems to take this seriously. I am trying different mouth washed. Brush my. Tongue & gums. Chewing gum helps. No serious pain other than occasional sore tipp of tongue from the ridge on back of tooth. Took a
    Course of antibiotics. Tried a antihistamine. Could I be allergic to the glue or some reaction to the laser fast drying process?

    • I had similar problem.Reason, a gap was formed in crown and entry of food material in side the gum caused infection. Later I had sinus problem,affecting my nose, eyes and ear.Could be similar case

  51. i got my wisdom tooth pulled out 3 years back ..the tooth didn’t come out as a piece broke to small piece was left there. it bothers me ..can this give me constant mild headaches, ear ringing and blockage in my ears? Please help me ..please..

  52. i am getting these headaches for the past two months going crazy ..tomorrow i have a dentist appointment ..please help me ..i can’t take this anymore ..

  53. Thanks, Very useful information. I am suffering from from Sinus problem since last 6 months.On basis of information provided by you I visited my dentist. Xray reveals that root canal of one of the upper gum was not proper and caused infection which lead to Sinus problem.I was thinking it is due to allergy.

  54. Hi, great to read these interesting posts. I have cleared started with experiencing sinus headaches on right side of head and face and then sensitivity in upper molar which has original filling from 30 plus years ago. Have used natural remedies to clear sinuses out and headaches went and now pain is isolated to lump in gum – directly above molar – sensitive to touch, which is causing ongoing sensitivity just under that tooth. Taking antibiotics. Is it possible to have the fluid drained ??

  55. I had to have four teeth pulled yesterday, and today I started getting a runny nose but notna sore throat (which I always get with a common cold). Do you think these could be associated? Or just coincidence? Something I should be worried about? Or will it go away on it’s own?

  56. Question…I have had pretty bad sinitius for about 2 years now. Ivery had tooth number 3 extracted a while back (before any of my sinus issues started)…now I need to get 14 extracted. Due to being directly under the sinus cavity, my dentist isn’t comfortable with the extraction and is sending me to an oral surgeon. Idk for sure if the tooth is what’s causing my sinus issues, but it wouldn’t surprise me….my concern is this: when 3 was extracted I remember being told to be careful about sneezing, coughing, anything really that could cause the sinus not to close back up right…this is also my current dentists concern. Back then it wasn’t a big deal, but now with all my sinus issues, this is a major worry point for me…if the tooth is causing the sinitius will it be better immediately after the tooth is pulled? Or could the sinus issues continue and cause problems during the healing of the extraction site??

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