Tooth or sinus infection: Confusion for many patients - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Tooth or sinus infection: Confusion for many patients

Doctors and dentists say there can be confusion whether pain is in the sinus cavity or a tooth. Doctors and dentists say there can be confusion whether pain is in the sinus cavity or a tooth.
DECATUR, AL (WAFF) -

Tim Pope said he has a constant pain in his face. He said there have been times when a sinus infection hurt his teeth. 

"A lot of pressure. It's just a row of teeth hurting, not typically one," he said.

Doctors and dentists say there can be confusion whether it's in the sinus cavity or a tooth.  

Dr. Thomas T. Willis is Pope's dentist. 

"It's kind of a consultation both ways. A lot of the time an ENT will send a person over for a consultation. A patient comes in with a type of pain. Really can't find anything wrong with him, send him to a dentist to check for an abscessed tooth," said Willis. 

The pain can be easily confused because the two areas are so close.

"The maxillary sinusitis, or the cavity above your posterior teeth on both sides, encroaches on the teeth, encroaches on that area and you could have changes in both teeth and /or sinuses that can cause tooth pain," Willis said. 

Usually an X-ray can distinguish the location of an infection. If left untreated, the infection could become serious.

"Sinusitis is usually a bi-lateral pain with multiple posterior teeth bothering you - a tooth problem that could also be related to sinusitis in which you have congestion and stuff. It's usually isolated and one side or the other and sometimes in a particular tooth," added Willis. 

In the case of Pope, there is no doubt.  

"I'm dealing with one now. And it's really painful. And I could blame it on a sinus infection if it weren't cracked. So I could be fighting the wrong thing. I could be headed to the wrong doctor," said Pope.

If facial pain persists, make certain to get medical help immediately.

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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