East Tennessee is a wonderful place to live. The stunning Smoky Mountains, the beautiful lakes, football Saturdays, and time spent in the great cities across our area are just a few of the everyday things that make living here so perfect.

However, East Tennessee is also known by allergy suffers for its poor air quality and high amounts of airborne allergens. Walk outside during certain times of the year, and you’ll likely see your car and outdoor spaces covered in pollen. It helps the natural beauty we love so much continue to thrive, but it can also wreak havoc on your sinuses.

Your body’s response to rid itself of these allergens can cause unusual effects on other parts of your body, not just your congested nose and irritated eyes. Your teeth and jaw can also be impacted by your allergies and cause a wide range of problems, including pain and discomfort.

If this describes your experience with seasonal allergies, here’s a quick guide to understanding how these allergens cause discomfort around your mouth and how to give yourself some temporary relief.

Allergies and other forms of sinusitis

For non-allergy sufferers, you probably spend very little time thinking about your sinuses. These open spaces behind your cheeks create mucus to protect your nasal passageways from dirt, bacteria, and other airborne toxins. For those with allergies, however, your sinuses are working overtime.

Sometimes, the walls around your sinuses and nasal cavity can become inflamed, causing headaches, facial pain, runny nose, and nasal congestion. This is known as sinusitis. In most cases, sinusitis will clear up on its own. However, there are times when this condition can develop into a sinus infection and cause a wide range of symptoms, including ear and toothaches.

When sinusitis causes toothaches

As an infection creates more problems in your sinuses, pressure can build, and drainage can increase to the point that will eventually cause you to feel pain in your teeth. This is a common symptom of sinusitis, and the pain is usually felt in the upper back teeth that are closest to the sinuses. This happens because the roots of your upper teeth and jawbone are near your sinuses. Sometimes the discomfort spreads into your lower teeth in what’s known as referred pain.

Signs and symptoms of sinusitis

Sinus pain in your teeth can feel similar to a regular toothache caused by a cavity or other ailment. However, pain caused by sinus issues will impact your upper molars first and cause pain in several teeth at a time. A toothache caused by a dental issue will cause pain in a very specific location inside your mouth and will likely be more intense.

Also, pain from a sinus toothache will intensify with movements. Bending over or jumping up and down may make the pain worse because the sinus pressure shifts as you move and is felt more in your teeth. Conversely, the pain may ease when you are lying down or sitting.

Other symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Fever
  • Ear pain
  • Tiredness
  • Sore throat
  • Thick, discolored mucus
  • Sinus and nasal drainage

When these symptoms are coupled with intense allergies, you’ll likely be able to easily know the difference.

Ways to temporarily relieve toothaches from sinus pain

As stated earlier, most cases of sinusitis clear up on their own. If symptoms persist, it may be time to visit a physician or see an allergy specialist. There are, however, several ways to ease the discomfort at home, including:

  • Using a warm compress on your face several times a day. This will help soothe some of the discomfort.
  • Increasing your fluid intake. This will help to thin the mucus produced from your sinus infection and reduce pressure and blockages in your sinuses. Hot liquids like soup and tea will feel especially soothing.
  • Inhaling steam from a hot shower multiple times a day. This will help open your nasal passageways and relieve your sinus pressure. You can also pour boiling water into a bowl and deeply breathe in the steam.
  • Using a humidifier in your bedroom. Like the hot shower, this will increase moisture in the air to allow your sinuses and nasal airways to open more freely.
  • Rinsing your sinuses. Rinsing with a saline solution can help to moisturize your sinuses while clearing away allergens and other toxins. Premixed solutions are available, and you can use a nasal sprayer, Neti pot, or nasal irrigation system to clean your sinuses.
  • Limit use of decongestant nasal sprays. These can provide temporary relief, but overuse can create tolerance and ultimately make them ineffective.

While these other treatments relieve pain and discomfort more broadly, there are ways to address specific areas of toothache pain, including over-the-counter pain relievers, alternating between a hot and cold compress on the affected area, and a saltwater rinse.

If your tooth pain persists for a considerable amount of time, continues after your allergies or sinus infection have subsided, or causes severe pain and discomfort, it may be time to make an appointment to see a dentist.

Family Dentistry at University General Dentists in Knoxville, TN

Allergies are a frustrating part of life for so many people, but there can be relief. With these simple steps and regular dental cleanings and exams, much of the pain and discomfort caused by allergies can be avoided.

At University General Dentists, we provide family dentistry services to help keep your loved ones’ smiles healthy and strong. We believe in caring, attentive, and respectful dental care, and we provide everything from routine checkups to extensive dental repairs with the latest state-of-the-art technology.

We have two convenient Knoxville dentist locations. Schedule an appointment at our University of Tennessee Medical Center office at 865-305-9440 or our West Knoxville office at 865-500-5700.