How to Tell The Difference Between a Toothache and a Sinus Problem

A toothache can be an excruciating pain felt by chewing, biting, or even opening the mouth wide. Cracked teeth and cavities usually cause toothaches. On the other hand, a sinus problem can be a pain in the cheek area or forehead, often accompanied by congestion and pressure in the sinuses. Sinusitis is inflammation of the lining of the sinuses.

It’s always important to distinguish between these two problems because they require different treatments. You should see your dentist to find out if you have a toothache and see your doctor for help with sinus problems.

Ways to Differentiate Between a Toothache and a Sinus Problem

1. Location

A toothache is usually located in the back of the mouth, while a sinus problem is more likely to be located in the front. A toothache can cause pain when you chew, bite, or simply by opening your mouth, while a sinus problem will not make any difference when you open your mouth or chew. A toothache can be accompanied by a bad taste of metal, while a sinus problem will not change the taste.

2. Duration

A toothache typically lasts more than three days, while a sinus problem can last two weeks. While a toothache can be accompanied by fever, a sinus problem will not cause any temperature change.

3. Pain

A toothache is accompanied by a sharp pain that is intense and feels like it shoots into the bone, while a sinus problem will not feel painful at all. The pain of a toothache is so intense that it makes you want to cry. However, it is impossible to make any sound when suffering from a sinus problem.

4. Taste

Usually, a toothache will make the tongue and mouth feel numb, while a sinus problem will give you an unpleasant taste on your tongue. A toothache will leave a bad taste in your mouth, while a sinus problem still makes no difference when you open your mouth.

5. Swelling

A toothache can lead to swelling, redness, and tenderness in the jaw and face area and force you to take painkillers and antibiotics, which may help reduce symptoms of pain or fever; however, most of the time, there is no change or even improvement in these symptoms after taking painkillers or antibiotics. On the flip side, a sinus problem will not cause swelling or tenderness in the face.

6. Pus in the Nose

A toothache can cause a small amount of pus to come out of your nose, which is red and thick. However, this is rare. Some or all these symptoms must accompany a sinus problem:

  1. Pain in the sinuses
  2. Stuffiness in the nose
  3. Obstruction of breathing and coughing due to congestion

By looking at these few differences, you will always be able to differentiate between a toothache and a sinus problem. However, you should still visit your doctor if you’re not sure which of the two problems is bothering you.

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