It’s that time of year. Colds and flu are passed to anyone who wants to breath air or touch anything. A lot of these give us inflamed sinuses. I (Dr. Fink) managed to catch something and my nose has been plugged for over three weeks and my upper molars hurt to bite on like I have a toothache. We see this quite a bit. The floor of the sinus is close to the tip of the roots of the upper back teeth. Sometimes the x-ray makes it look like the roots are into the sinus cavity, but they are not. The bone around the end of the root is so thin that the tooth feels the pressure in the sinus.
This X-ray is mine. Look at the tip of the root on the 2nd tooth from the left. The white wavy line below that is the floor of my sinus. So, when there is pressure in the sinus due to sinus congestion, there is pressure on the ends of the teeth, and it can feel the same as a root canal infection would feel. If we see a patient with tender upper molars and that is what we suspect, we wait two weeks or so. Almost always when the sinus pressure goes away and the toothache goes away, too.
One other common symptom that supports this is: if I tip my head forward I can feel the pressure in the sinus shift due to gravity moving the stuff in my sinus.
Larry J. Fink, DDS