This time of year, many people develop sinus infections as a side effect of colds or flus. Often, they will pass without much special care. However, some persist, lasting for weeks or increasing in intensity, which can drive you to a doctor. Sometimes, this will help, but other times it doesn’t. If typical treatments aren’t helping with your sinus infection, it might be time to consider that your infection might not be a sinus infection after all. It could be an infected tooth, which requires special care to treat.

Woman holding ridge of nose. Is it a Sinus Infection or Tooth Infection?

Overlapping Symptoms with Sinus and Tooth Infection

It can be hard to distinguish between the symptoms of a sinus infection and a tooth infection. With a sinus infection, you might commonly experience:

  • Pain in the face or behind the eyes
  • Headaches
  • Nasal congestion
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Tenderness and swelling
  • Postnasal drip

However, the symptoms for a tooth infection can be similar, including:

  • Pain in the face
  • Toothache
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Tenderness and swelling
  • Discharge from tooth or gums
  • Foul taste in the mouth or persistent bad breath
  • Pimple-like sore on gums
  • Discolored tooth

In addition, more symptoms might cross over. A sinus infection can put pressure on your tooth, leading to a toothache. Infections can also spread from your tooth to your sinuses.

How to Distinguish Infections

So, with so much overlap, how can you tell the difference between the two types of infections? First, you can look at the most distinguishing symptoms. Look for a discolored tooth or a sore on the gums near the affected tooth.

You can also see how your condition responds to treatment. Antibiotics often work well to control sinus infections. However, they at best will only temporarily impact a tooth infection. If repeated courses of antibiotics don’t work on your infection, or if an infection seems to clear up then return repeatedly, you should consider that you might have an infected tooth.

If you have reason to suspect a tooth infection or are just tired of ineffective treatments for your “sinus infection,” it’s time to talk to a dentist. A dentist can evaluate your teeth more closely to determine whether one of them is the source of your infection. Then he can recommend appropriate treatment, such as root canal therapy if the tooth can be saved. If the tooth can’t be saved, extraction plus replacement with a dental bridge or implant is usually best.

Are You Looking for Relief in Orange County?

If you are tired of unsuccessful treatments for your “sinus infection,” and want to determine if you might have an infected tooth in Orange County, we can help. Our highly trained dentists have been serving our neighbors for more than 30 years, and we have developed an impeccable reputation for our thorough, effective, and compassionate care.

Please call (949) 551-5902 today for an appointment with a dentist at Rice Dentistry in Irvine.